take cleaners


a person who cleans, especially one whose regular occupation is cleaning offices, buildings, equipment, etc.
an apparatus or machine for cleaning, as a vacuum cleaner.
a preparation for use in cleaning, as a detergent or chemical bleach.
the owner or operator of a dry-cleaning establishment: The cleaner said he couldn't get the spot off my coat.
Usually, cleaners. a dry-cleaning establishment: My suit is at the cleaners.
take to the cleaners, Slang. to cause to lose all or a great deal of one's money or personal property, as through gambling or a bad investment: He got taken to the cleaners in the poker game last night.

1425–75; late Middle English clener. See clean, -er1

precleaner, noun
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
cleaner (ˈkliːnə)
1.  a person, device, chemical agent, etc, that removes dirt, as from clothes or carpets
2.  (usually plural) a shop, etc that provides a dry-cleaning service
3.  informal take a person to the cleaners to rob or defraud a person of all of his money

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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Word Origin & History

O.E. clæne "clean, pure," from W.Gmc. *klainoz "clear, pure," from PIE base *gel- "to gleam" (cf. Gk. glene "eyeball," O.Ir. gel "bright"). As an adj., replaced in higher senses by clear, pure, but as a verb (c.1450) it has largely usurped what once belonged to
cleanse. The adj. clean in the sense of "innocent" is from c.1300; that of "not lewd" is from 1867; that of "free of drug addiction" is 1950s. To take (someone) to the cleaners "get all of (someone's) money" is from 1932
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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