- serving to complete or put the finishing touches to a phase of a particular action.
- serving to complete a military campaign by killing or capturing any remaining enemy troops: a mopping-up operation.
Origin of mopping-up
- 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.
- a thick mass of hair.
- a polishing wheel having several layers of cloth secured by a boss.
- to rub, wipe, clean, or remove with a mop (often followed by up): to mop up a spill.
- to wipe as if with a mop: to mop the face with a handkerchief.
- to clean or wipe with or as if with a mop (often followed by up): First he swept, then he mopped up.
- mop up,
- Military.to clear (ground, trenches, towns, etc.) of scattered or remaining enemy combatants after attacking forces have conquered the area.
- Informal.to dispose of; complete; finish: He mopped up the rest of his business and went on a vacation.
- mop the floor with. floor(def 20).
Origin of mop1
- 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
- something resembling this, such as a tangle of hair
- (tr often foll by up) to clean or soak up with or as if with a mop
- (intr) to make a grimace or sad expression (esp in the phrase mop and mow)
- such a face or expression
- (in various parts of England) an annual fair at which formerly servants were hired
Word Origin and History for mopping up
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 (French) mappe "napkin," from Latin mappa "napkin" (see map (n.)). Modern spelling by 1660s. Of hair, from 1847.
1709, from mop (n.). Related: Mopped; mopping.