mop up

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mop + up


  • (file)


mop up (phrasal verb)

  1. To clean up (liquid) with a mop, rag, sponge, or other cleaning device.
    Please mop up the spilled milk.
    • April 19 2002, Scott Tobias, AV Club Fightville[1]
      And though Fightville, an MMA documentary from the directors of the fine Iraq War doc Gunner Palace, presents it more than fairly, the sight of a makeshift ring getting constructed on a Louisiana rodeo ground does little to shake the label. Nor do the shots of ringside assistants with spray bottles and rags, mopping up the blood between rounds
    • 2009, Jeff Bredenberg, How to Cheat at Home Repair, →ISBN:
      There's no sense in trying to mop up a free-flowing river.
    • 2010, Hilary Jones -, What's Up Doc?, →ISBN, page 119:
      We went through to the kitchen and draped Bob's shaking arm over a thick white beach towel to mop up the blood, but even I wasn't prepared for what I saw next
    • 2014, Jonathan Crocker, A Dream of Hope and Sorrow, →ISBN:
      He wiped the sleeve of his garment across his brow, trying to mop up some of the sweat that was dripping into his eyes.
  2. (idiomatic) To fix problems; to correct or repair.
    • 2003, Erica Glen, Double Intensity, →ISBN:
      They learned nothing in their lives to prepare them for this time period; they were choosing to mop up the silliness of their past and shape it into something to promote survival.
    • 2011 March 2, Andy Campbell, “Celtic 1 - 0 Rangers”, in BBC[2]:
      Diouf rounded Zaluska near the byeline and crossed but Daniel Majstorovic headed away and Celtic eventually mopped up the danger.
    • 2011, Allie Spencer, Summer Loving, →ISBN, page 130:
      Nick was hovering around ready to mop up any problems that might arise in translation but thankfully, I failed to ask anyone to collect the fish baskets, finish the hoovering or do anything other than ...
    After they argued, it fell to me to talk to her and try to mop up.
  3. (transitive) To clear the leftovers of a dish, in order to eat them.
    • 2003, Jeff Call, Rolling With the Tide Page 112
      He mopped up the sauce with the bread and scarfed it down like he had been raised by wolves.
    • 2012, ‎Marie Joseph, Maggie Craig, →ISBN:
      Don't forget to mop up the gravy with your bread, there's a good husband
    • 2012, Malcolm Castle, All Fired Up: Tales of a Country Fireman, →ISBN:
      . And I only realised everyone was looking at me as I pushed the last corner of toast around my empty plate to mop up a stray splash of egg yolk.
    • 2013 -, Kate Sedley -, Green Man, →ISBN:
      I made a pretence of continuing my supper, but I, too, had ceased to be hungry. Only the children continued to mop up the meat and vegetable juices on their plates with hunks of barley bread.
  4. To consume or get rid of an excess of something.
    • 2004, Janet Renshaw & ‎Ted Lister, Essential A2 Chemistry for OCR, →ISBN, page 128:
      The function of the weak acid component of a buffer is to act as a source of H+ ions which can mop up any added OH-: HA + OH- -» A- + H2O
    • 2008, Angharad Closs Stephens & ‎Nick Vaughan-Williams, Terrorism and the Politics of Response, →ISBN, page x:
      The war, legitimised as it was by the coalesced decision makers, was intended to 'mop up' terrorism.
    • 2012, Wendy Robertson, The Jagged Window: A dramatic saga of family and ambition, →ISBN:
      I have not slept enough yet to mop up the exhaustion of my working week.
    • 2014, Ian Marber, ‎Laura Corr, ‎& Sarah Schenker, Eat Your Way To Lower Cholesterol, →ISBN, page 8:
      The main function of HDL is to mop up the excess LDL cholesterol and take it away from the cells and artery walls to the liver, where it is either broken down or excreted.
    • 2014, Adrian Wilkinson, ‎Geoffrey Wood, ‎& Richard Deeg, The Oxford Handbook of Employment Relations, →ISBN:
      The penalization of over two million of the poor helps both to underpin social order and to mask unemployment; the large military also helps mop up excessive numbers of the redundant poor.
    • 2009, S.P.S. Chauhan, Microeconomics: Theory And Applications - Part 2, →ISBN, page 12:
      In the third-degree price discrimination, the monopoly sets a price higher than the profit-maximizing price, P, to mop up a limited part of the consumer's surplus.
    • 2013, Lynda Bellingham, Tell Me Tomorrow, →ISBN, page 463:
      Oh I say, drinking champagne at eight thirty in the morning – how decadent. I must eat a croissant immediately to mop up the alcohol.
  5. To clean up an area destroyed by a natural disaster or by violent activity.
    • 2001, Fight Fire with Intelligence, Skill, and Courage:
      Crew members or leaders of a 20-person organized inter-agency hotshot suppression crew build firelines, conduct burnout operations, and mop up after the fire using chainsaws and hand tools such as Pulaskis and shovels.
    • 2010, Harry Keeble, Baby X: Britain’s Child Abusers Brought to Justice, →ISBN, page 153:
      Nobody wanted to join the 'Cardigan Squad' - so-called because Child Protection officers were seen as woolly, glorified social workers that mopped up after domestics.
    • 2016, Alison Roberts, The Playboy Doctor's Proposal, →ISBN:
      And when the aftermath of the bus crash had been mopped up, they could be on standby for the first casualties from a cyclone.
    My parents have volunteered to mop up the school hall after the flash flood yesterday.
  6. To finish something off; to apply a finishing touch
    • 1998, Peter Elbow, Writing without Teachers, →ISBN:
      They patch up, mop up, neaten up the halfcooked and unsatisfactory ideas they find lying around in their head.
    • 2003, Jeff Kaye, Two Faces Have I, →ISBN, page 236:
      So what you brought us together for is to tell us we're gonna turn Billy Gold over to them, mop up our operation, and go back to having normal lives again.
    • 2014, Jem Roberts, The Frood, →ISBN:
      It seemed to me like there was too much to tie up and mop up in Hitchhiker, so that trying to write it like that would just be a continual task of knotting up the loose ends, when in fact it might be better just to think of something completely different.
    • 2015, Gavin Featherstone, The Hockey Dynamic: Examining the Forces that Shaped the Modern Game, →ISBN:
      Barber smashed it hard and harder, but the keeper absorbed it with all parts of his body for the adjacent line man to mop up the rebound to clear.
  7. To get rid of enemies at a certain area.
    • 1954, J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers:
      No good trying to charge with them. They'd just squeal and bolt, and there are more than enough of these filthy horse-boys to mop up our lot on the flat.
    • 1995, Philip A. Crowl, United States Army in World War 2: The War in the Pacific, Campaign in The Marianas, →ISBN:
      One battalion was to mop up the Japanese on Hill Xray-Yoke and in the gulch to the south of it while the other two were to move up the ridge itself.
    • 2006, Fred L. Ward, Picking up the Pieces: The Battle of Iwo Jima, →ISBN, page 81:
      Atrocities on live Americans like beheading prisoners on Wake Island, the mutilation of bodies at other Pacific Island battles. It's kind of sad, when you look back at it, what happened to a human being, how fast you could change when survival was at stake. They made us mop up on the way back to the ship.
    • 2011, L.A. Banks, Conquer the Dark, →ISBN:
      But they gwan open it up like tomorrow after they mop up and the authorities get done—too much tourist business to be lost ... what little is trickling in.
    • 2013, Gary Sterne, The Cover up at Omaha Beach, →ISBN:
      The idea was to mop up any enemy forces between Grandcamp and Pointe du Hoc.
  8. To win a competition decisively.
    • 1963, Car & Driver - Volume 9, page 122:
      John Willment, a Ford distributor in Middlesex, imported a Holman & Moody- prepared Galaxie and -you may recall - let it loose among the 3.8 Jaguar racing contingent. WHAM! It mopped up everything in sight.
    • 2005, Harvey Frommer & ‎Frederic J. Frommer, Red Sox Vs. Yankees: The Great Rivalry, →ISBN:
      As more and more Red Sox drew walks and hit singles, our once insurmountable lead diminished. So, Joe Torre came out to call in his bullpen to mop up.
    • 2013, A.P. McCoy, Taking the Fall, →ISBN:
      Sanderson was out to mop up a few lower-grade races, including a Class 4 Hurdle for five-year-olds and upwards over two and a half miles, in which he was up against Kerry.

Derived terms[edit]