Washed up

“Wash up” has occasionally been used in a positive “finish” or “complete” sense (“‘I had an idea,’ he explained.? ‘Just came to me, riding back. I think I know how I can wash it up.’? He would write it now — tonight!” 1929). But “washed up” (or “all washed up”) has pretty consistently meant “worn out, finished, ruined,” whether it was applied to a personal relationship or the career of someone considered, perhaps a bit prematurely, a has-been (“Once he was the most underestimated man in American politics — a washed-up movie star, it was said, who was too old, too simple and too far right to be President,” Newsweek, 1980).

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