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n. pl. brib·er·ies
The act or practice of offering, giving, or taking a bribe.


n, pl -eries
the process of giving or taking bribes


(ˈbraɪ bə ri)

n., pl. -er•ies.
the act or practice of giving or accepting a bribe.
[1350–1400; Middle English < Middle French]




blood money The price on someone’s head, the money paid as reward for incriminating evidence or betrayal, especially such as will result in another’s death. The term blood money also refers to the Anglo-Saxon wergild or compensation paid to the kin of a murder victim to prevent continued retaliatory feuding.

cross [someone’s] palm To give money to someone, especially as a bribe; to grease someone’s palm or hand. Cross [someone’s] palm is not as common, nor as old, as grease [someone’s] palm, and its connotations not so strongly sinister. Cross probably refers to the action of placing bills across a person’s hand as a bribe is transacted. In another sense, it was customary to pay fortune tellers, especially gypsies, by crossing their palms (with silver), perhaps in a ritualized making of the sign of the cross to ward off prognostications of evil or merely for a lucky reading.

glove money Bribe money; so-called from the gratuity or tip given to servants for the purpose of buying a pair of gloves; also glove-silver. Thomas F. Thiselton-Dyer offers this slightly different explanation of the expression in his book on folklore:

The gift of a pair of gloves was at one time the ordinary perquisite of those who performed some small service; and in process of time, to make the reward of greater value, the glove was “lined” with money; hence the term “glove-money.”

The term, no longer in current use, dates from the early 18th century.

grease [someone’s] palm To bribe someone; to use money illegally for unauthorized services; sometimes grease the hand or fist. This slang phrase dates from the early 16th century.

With gold and grotes they grease my hand. (John Skelton, Magnificence, 1526)

Grease used figuratively means ‘to facilitate or smooth the way.’ In the case of bribery, one smooths the way by placing money in someone else’s hands. A variant of the full expression is the truncated grease. Current since the turn of the century is another variant oil [someone’s] palm.

grease the wheels To take action to make things run smoothly; to use money as an expedient. In use since the 19th century, this expression does not necessarily connote financial deceit, although it clearly does so in the following citation:

The party I mean is a glutton for money, but I will do my best with him. I think a hundred pounds … would grease his wheels. (Sir A. H. Elton, Below the Surface, 1857)

have an ox on the tongue To be paid to remain silent; to be bribed to secrecy. This obsolete expression originated in ancient times, when cattle was considered an important commodity for barter; moreover, early metallic coins often bore the visage of an ox. Thus to have an ox on the tongue came to mean ‘made mute by money.’

oil of angels Money or gold, particularly when used as a gift or bribe. Angel in this expression refers to the 15th century English coin which bore the visage of Michael the Archangel. Figuratively, the phrase implies mat money provides soothing, oil-like relief to greedy hands.

The palms of their hands so hot that they cannot be cooled unless they be rubbed with the oil of angels. (Robert Greene, A Quip from an Upstart Courtier, 1592)

a sop to Cerberus A token intended to pacify another; a gift or tribute to appease an adversary; a bribe, hush-money. This expression is derived from the ancient Greek and Roman custom of placing a sop cake in the hands of a cadaver. The sop was intended to placate Cerberus, the three-headed dog that guarded the gates of Hades, who, after receiving the offering allowed the dead to pass.

I will throw down a napoleon, as a sop to Cerberus. (Horatio Smith, Gaities and Gravities, 1825)

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.bribery - the practice of offering something (usually money) in order to gain an illicit advantagebribery - the practice of offering something (usually money) in order to gain an illicit advantage
felony - a serious crime (such as murder or arson)
barratry - the crime of a judge whose judgment is influenced by bribery
commercial bribery - bribery of a purchasing agent in order to induce the agent to enter into a transaction


noun corruption, graft (informal), inducement, buying off, payola (informal), crookedness (informal), palm-greasing (slang), subornation He was jailed on charges of bribery.
رَشْوَةرَشْوَه، ارْتِشاء
mútugjöf; mútuòága
뇌물 수수
sự hối lộ


[ˈbraɪbərɪ] Nsoborno m, mordida f (CAm, Mex) , coima f (Andes, S. Cone)


[ˈbraɪbəri] ncorruption f


nBestechung f; open to briberybestechlich


[ˈbraɪbərɪ] ncorruzione f


(braib) noun
a gift offered to persuade a person to do something, usually dishonest. Policemen are not allowed to accept bribes.
to give (someone) a bribe. He bribed the guards to let him out of prison.
ˈbribery noun


رَشْوَة podplácení bestikkelse Bestechung δωροδοκία soborno lahjonta pot-de-vin mito corruzione 贈収賄 뇌물 수수 omkoperij bestikkelse przekupstwo suborno взяточничество muta การให้สินบน rüşvet sự hối lộ 行贿受贿
References in classic literature ?
He tells of all the evil things she does, by which Langland means to show what wicked things men will do if tempted by bribery and the hope of gain.
His first move was to send Davenport to Liverpool to try to find the steward of the WEST AFRICAN, who had told him about Oolanga, and if possible secure any further information, and then try to induce (by bribery or other means) the nigger to come to the Brow.
Lady Greystoke never rode alone at any great distance from the bungalow, and the savage loyalty of the ferocious Waziri warriors who formed a great part of Tarzan's followers seemed to preclude the possibility of a successful attempt at forcible abduction, or of the bribery of the Waziri themselves.
At this last bribery, Pinocchio could no longer resist and said firmly:
The palace of a chief minister is a seminary to breed up others in his own trade: the pages, lackeys, and porters, by imitating their master, become ministers of state in their several districts, and learn to excel in the three principal ingredients, of insolence, lying, and bribery.
The President of the United States would be liable to be impeached, tried, and, upon conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanors, removed from office; and would afterwards be liable to prosecution and punishment in the ordinary course of law.
The conquest of the Henrietta, the bribery of the crew, Fogg managing the boat like a skilled seaman, amazed and confused him.
If indeed they were fitly trained to the practice of every human virtue, every one would readily admit that they would be useful to the government; but still it might be debated whether they should be continued judges for life, to determine points of the greatest moment, since the mind has its old age as well as the body; but as they are so brought up, [1271a] that even the legislator could not depend upon them as good men, their power must be inconsistent with the safety of the state: for it is known that the members of that body have been guilty both of bribery and partiality in many public affairs; for which reason it had been much better if they had been made answerable for their conduct, which they are not.
Aynesworth," he said hesitatingly, "that you will not regard this as an ordinary attempt at bribery and corruption.
Perhaps, indeed, there may be now and tan a verse which I can't make much of, because half the letters are left out; yet I know very well what is meant by that, and that our affairs don't go so well as they should do, because of bribery and corruption.
She would not betray her trust, I suppose, without bribery and corruption, for she really did know where her friend was to be found.
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.