- 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.
- a person, device, chemical agent, etc, that removes dirt, as from clothes or carpets
- (usually plural) a shop, etc that provides a dry-cleaning service
- take a person to the cleaners informal to rob or defraud a person of all of his money
n.mid-15c., agent noun from clean (v.). Meaning “shop that cleans clothes” is from 1873. To take (someone) to the cleaners “get all of (someone’s) money” is from 1921. 1Take or cheat one out of all of one’s money or possessions, as in Her divorce lawyer took him to the cleaners, or That broker has taken a number of clients to the cleaners. [Slang; early 1900s] 2Drub, beat up, as in He didn’t just push you—he took you to the cleaners. [Slang; early 1900s]