mop up

mop-up

[mop-uhp]
noun
the act, process, or an instance of mopping up; completion of an operation or action.

Origin:
1895–1900; noun use of verb phrase mop up

Dictionary.com Unabridged

mop

1 [mop]
noun
1.
a bundle of coarse yarn, a sponge, or other absorbent material, fastened at the end of a stick or handle for washing floors, dishes, etc.
2.
a thick mass of hair.
3.
a polishing wheel having several layers of cloth secured by a boss.
verb (used with object), mopped, mopping.
4.
to rub, wipe, clean, or remove with a mop (often followed by up ): to mop up a spill.
5.
to wipe as if with a mop: to mop the face with a handkerchief.
verb (used without object), mopped, mopping.
6.
to clean or wipe with or as if with a mop (often followed by up ): First he swept, then he mopped up.
Verb phrases
7.
mop up,
a.
Military. to clear (ground, trenches, towns, etc.) of scattered or remaining enemy combatants after attacking forces have conquered the area.
b.
Informal. to dispose of; complete; finish: He mopped up the rest of his business and went on a vacation.
Idioms
8.
mop the floor with. floor ( def 20 ).

Origin:
1375–1425; earlier map, late Middle English mappe, apocopated variant of mappel < Medieval Latin mappula a cloth, equivalent to Latin mapp(a) napkin + -ula -ule

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
mop1 (mɒp)
 
n
1.  an implement with a wooden handle and a head made of twists of cotton or a piece of synthetic sponge, used for polishing or washing floors, or washing dishes
2.  something resembling this, such as a tangle of hair
 
vb (often foll by up) , mops, mopping, mopped
3.  to clean or soak up with or as if with a mop
 
[C15 mappe, from earlier mappel, from Medieval Latin mappula cloth, from Latin mappa napkin]

mop2 (mɒp)
 
vb , mops, mopping, mopped
1.  (intr) to make a grimace or sad expression (esp in the phrase mop and mow)
 
n
2.  such a face or expression
 
[C16: perhaps from Dutch moppen to pour; compare Dutch mop pug dog]

mop3 (mɒp)
 
n
(in various parts of England) an annual fair at which formerly servants were hired
 
[C17: from the practice of servants carrying a mop, broom, or flail, etc, to signify the job sought]

mop up
 
vb
1.  to clean with a mop
2.  informal to complete (a task, etc)
3.  military to clear (remaining enemy forces) after a battle, as by killing, taking prisoner, etc
 
n
4.  the act or an instance of mopping up

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

mop
late 15c., mappe "bundle of yarn, etc., fastened to the end of a stick for cleaning or spreading pitch on a ship's decks," from Walloon (Fr.) mappe "napkin," from L. mappa "napkin" (see map). The verb is first recorded 1709. Related: Mopped; mopping.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
MOP
Macau—pataca (currency)
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

mop up

  1. Clear an area of remaining enemy troops after a victory, as in They left behind just one squadron to mop up. [c. 1900]

  2. Perform the minor tasks that conclude a project or activity, as in Go ahead, I'll mop up these last invoices. [First half of 1900s] Both usages transfer the task of housecleaning with a mop to other kinds of cleanup.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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