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brib•er•y(ˈbraɪ bə ri)
n., pl. -er•ies.
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)
|Noun||1.||bribery - 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