to take someone to the cleaners

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - take someone to the cleaners

"to take someone to the cleaners"

1) to cause to lose all of or a great deal of a person's money or possessions, often dishonestly or unfairly

2) to very thoroughly defeat


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - take someone to the cleaners

Two friends are talking ...

Friend 1: I don't think I have ever seen you take the bus to work. Is your car in the shop?

Friend 2: No. I had to sell my car. I got involved with an unscrupulous investment banker and invested all my money in a "no-fail" scheme. Turns out, the banker wasn't a banker at all but was actually a con-man. As soon as he had all my money, he disappeared and I never heard from him again. Needless to say, this left me with almost nothing.

Friend 1: Ouch. Sorry to hear that you were taken to the cleaners.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - take someone to the cleaners

Two friends are talking ...

Friend 1: Are you ready for your big game on Thursday?

Friend 2: Absolutely. Our team has a strategy that we hope will allow us to beat our opponents thoroughly.

Friend 1: Excellent. I hope you take them to the cleaners.

Test Your Understanding  

to take someone to the cleaners - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   312   click for frequency by country

to take someone to the cleaners - Gerund Form:

Taking the unsuspecting investors to the cleaners, the broker took their life savings and disappeared.

to take someone to the cleaners - Examples:

1)  Fraud is fraud and Canadians are being taken to the cleaners by people who take the citizenship lightly.

2)  ... accident, hurt or kill someone, your bank account will be taken to the cleaners!

3)  ... and for the price he paid he not only got taken to the cleaners but the retailer should be ashamed of themselves as far as I'm concerned.

4)  ... but if you feel you have been taken to the cleaners, go to the Better Business Bureau and complain.

5)  ... middle class are under assault by big business. We are being taken to the cleaners. Rent: certainly in London, rent has easily doubled over the last ...

6)  More likely, we suspect, investors, particularly those who were taken to the cleaners in the crash, remain too wary or bereft of moola to indulge in another ...

7)  Watch LFC get taken to the cleaners and pay 30m for him. He's worth 15.

8)  For Cape Verde to have taken Cameroon to the cleaners is, indeed, an achievement of no small dimension.

9)  He'll get taken to the cleaners in a divorce. She'll end up with lifelong alimony, half his pension ...

10)  They have been taken to the cleaners by the Conservatives and forced to go along with policies at odds with their beliefs.

11)  No, they begrudge being taken to the cleaners. They begrudge losing their homes, their kids, their money.

12)  ... the charade lasts a few years, they take him to the cleaners and run off with half his worth. 

13)  It's not transfer fees that financially take clubs to the cleaners. It's wages.

14)  ... the Congress that allowed the crooks in the mortgage industry to take us to the cleaners, losing our homes and our jobs while they allowed the banks to make a lot of money.

15)  Shakib just absolutely took Gul to the cleaners, pulling him easy for sixes and fours over mid-wicket quite handsomely. 

16)  ... how many male voters recalled in horror their memories of being 'taken to the cleaners' by their female partners in a break up/divorce settlement?

17)  I should be taken to the cleaners if I renege on my avowed promise of actualising the free SHS concept.

18)  Ojha was taken to the cleaners in the two overs he bowled in which he gave away 25 runs and took ...

19)  Here's another book about how we got taken to the cleaners by the financial services industry.

20)  ... and businesses to protect themselves better, then they don't get taken to the cleaners by scams, then everyone is a winner.