[ mop-uhp ]
/ ˈmɒpˌʌp /


the act, process, or an instance of mopping up; completion of an operation or action.



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Origin of mop-up

First recorded in 1895–1900; noun use of verb phrase mop up

Definition for mop up (2 of 2)

Origin of mop

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for mop up (1 of 4)

mop up

verb (tr, adverb)

to clean with a mop
informal to complete (a task, etc)
military to clear (remaining enemy forces) after a battle, as by killing, taking prisoner, etc

noun mop-up

the act or an instance of mopping up

British Dictionary definitions for mop up (2 of 4)

/ (mɒp) /


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

verb mops, mopping or mopped

(tr often foll by up) to clean or soak up with or as if with a mop
See also mop up

Word Origin for mop

C15 mappe, from earlier mappel, from Medieval Latin mappula cloth, from Latin mappa napkin

British Dictionary definitions for mop up (3 of 4)

/ (mɒp) rare /

verb mops, mopping or mopped

(intr) to make a grimace or sad expression (esp in the phrase mop and mow)


such a face or expression

Word Origin for mop

C16: perhaps from Dutch moppen to pour; compare Dutch mop pug dog

British Dictionary definitions for mop up (4 of 4)

/ (mɒp) /


(in various parts of England) an annual fair at which formerly servants were hired

Word Origin for mop

C17: from the practice of servants carrying a mop, broom, or flail, etc, to signify the job sought
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Idioms and Phrases with mop up

mop up


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


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® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.