Created on 14 August 2019
Idiom
To wipe the floor with
Meaning
To defeat someone easily.
Origin

To wipe the floor with

In A Dictionary of Slang, Jargon and Cant by Barrère and Leland (1897), the idiom is described where, “one man has thrashed another so completely as to have taken him like a broom or mop, and swept or cleaned the floor with him.” This suggests that the winner of a physical fight, having emerged victorious, would literally pick his opponent up by the heels and clean the floor with him. While such a factual definition seems unlikely, it is possible that the phrase referred to the loser of a fight being knocked off his feet and laid out on the floor.

Examples

In an unexpected turn of events, Newcastle United wiped the floor with Manchester City last week.

Derek is a fantastic performer. He could wipe the floor in any dance-off.

The winner of this year’s ‘Britian’s Got Talent’ wiped the floor with her competitors. She was outstanding!

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