Green’s Dictionary of Slang

grease v.1

1. to corrupt, to bribe; to benefit from such corruption (see cite 1851).

[UK]Skelton Magnyfycence line 438: Wyth golde and grotes they grease my hande.
[UK]Udall (trans.) Erasmus’ Apophthegms (1564) Bk II 195: That persone [...] that cometh first to anoincte or greace the handes of him that giueth the office, or biddeth most mony.
[UK]T. Tusser Five Hundred Pointes of Good Husbandrie (1878) 159: How husbandrie easeth, to huswiferie pleaseth, And manie purse greaseth with siluer and gold.
[UK]T. Newton Tryall of a Man’s owne Selfe 117: Whether being greased in the hande with giftes and rewardes, he hath overmuch cockered, dandeled and wincked at some of his scholars.
[UK]G. Mynshul Essayes of Prison n.p.: Next after this comes (Mistress Deceipt) the head Cooke, who protesteth thou shalt commaund her, who hauing no sooner greased her fingers with thy siluer, but euer after will haue a hand in thy dish.
[UK]R. L’Estrange (trans.) Visions of Quevedo 324: How many Atturneys that would give ye Dispatch or Delay thereafter as they were greas’d!
[UK]London Jilt pt 1 72: First of all my Maid [...] was to be greased in the Fist.
[UK]Dryden Juvenal VI 91: Ev’ry gapeing Heir Wou’d gladly Grease the Rich Old Bachelour.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (3rd edn).
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[US]Manchester Spy (NH) 17 May n.p.: There is some enquiry among the boys, to know by what hocus pocus means some two or three slid out, after being taken [...] for rioting [...] Some think they were ‘stool pigeons’ and others, that they were greased.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum 39: grease A bribe. ‘Grease the copper in the fist, and he’ll be as blind as your mother,’ put money in the officer’s hand, and he will not watch you.
[US]T. Haliburton Season Ticket 251: The Whigs use the Radicals to get into power, and then, in their turn, forget who greased their wheels for them.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 5 Oct. n.p.: Bob Bruce, the ‘fly-cop’ [...] did remarkably well. I heard quite a number of the ‘guns’ remark that they had ‘greased’ him.
[US]Letters by an Odd Boy 162: Why, if I bribe a man [let me say a man in blue], should I be said to ‘grease’ him, while all my flattery is so much ‘soap ?’.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 2 Oct. 14/3: We do not intimate that the sheriff was greased because we know he was not, but we think it was very kind in him [etc].
[US]J. Hawthorne Confessions of Convict 213: They railroaded me [,...] because I couldn’t grease the wheels.
[UK]A. Binstead Pitcher in Paradise 217: Somebody who had already greased the police had been sandbagged in error.
[US]F. Hutchison Philosophy of Johnny the Gent 27: All you’ve got to do is to grease a bull’s fin wit a two-case note an’ he'll sidestep the joint.
[US]G. Henderson Keys to Crookdom 314: Contractors building highways and public structures frequently find it advisable to ‘grease’ the hand of a political boss or of a governor.
[US]H. McCoy They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? in Four Novels (1983) 57: ‘Does this mean we’ll have to close up?’ ‘I don’t think so [...] It just means we’ll have to try to grease somebody.’.
[US]B. Schulberg Harder They Fall (1971) 215: Do you want the whole town to know what round we got it greased for?
[US]J. Blake letter 25 Feb. in Joint (1972) 14: One of the guards will grease for twenty-five bucks.
[US]N. Algren Land of the Strange Light Sleep’ in Entrapment (2009) 215: Loot is heavy and the risks are light, grift is fast and the Nab greases easy.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 237: Here she can grease a mitt and see me.
[UK]F. Norman Too Many Crooks Spoil the Caper 192: What about the sergeant you grease in exchange for your hotline to what’s buzzing at the Yard?
[US]H. Gould Fort Apache, The Bronx 98: You try to grease me again, and I’ll turn your head like a doorknob.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 98: It takes a lot of pictures to pay off attorneys and grease the boys downtown.
[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 81/1: grease (also grease a palm) v. to bribe, to pay off.
[US]K. Huff A Steady Rain I i: A dozen or so hookers, he looked after them and they greased him.
[US](con. 1973) C. Stella Johnny Porno 13: I’ll talk to the guy runs this place, grease him a few.
[US]J. Ellroy Widespread Panic 17: Joi greased Hollyweird with my handouts.

2. to cheat, to deceive.

[UK]Beaumont & Fletcher Wild-Goose-Chase IV ii: Am I greas’d once again?

3. to curry favour with, to toady to; thus greasing n.

[UK]Behn Rover Epilogue. For all their greasing will not buy ’em Britches.
[UK]S.O. Addy Sheffield Gloss. 95: Grease, to flatter.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 7 Oct. 3/2: Haynes greased the people of Wellington [...] in the course of his speech on the butter question. He couldn’t help buttering them but there was no necessity to ‘rub it in’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 13 Oct. 28/1: Premier Lyne wants to immortalise his reign by making a road round the foreshore of Sydney Botanic Gardens, to be called Hopetoun Avenue by way of greasing the new Gov.-General.
[US]P. Kendall Dict. Service Sl. n.p.: grease . . . to give present [sic] to superiors.
Dan Burley ‘Back Door Stuff’ 23 Apr. [synd. col.] I mean the real people and not the lardmouths who grease you good with words and then slip away.
[UK]T. Lewis Plender [ebook] ‘Greasing bastard,’ said Croft.
[US]E. Torres Carlito’s Way 133: You grease your way into one ear and then you connive your way out the other.
[US]J. Wambaugh Glitter Dome (1982) 42: He greased Sacramento lobbyists.
[Aus]B. Moore Lex. of Cadet Lang. 173: usage: ‘He greases to people in authority all the time’.
[UK]Guardian 2 Mar. 2: Good greasing, but not quite great greasing.

4. to smooth over problems, esp. from authorities.

[US]Flynt & Walton Powers That Prey 206: I even think that I could ’a’ got the Kid out o’ the Pen through that copper. I might ’a’ had to put up a little cash to grease things.
[US]J. Lait ‘Canada Kid’ in Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 180: She has this framed, greased, and laid out for days. So it’s cold.
[US]R. Whitfield ‘Murder in the Ring’ in Black Mask Stories (2010) 349/1: He greased me so that I could get the Big Boy away from the little lake town where I found him.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 288: Oh, everything was greased for us.
[UK]W. Hall Long and the Short and the Tall Act II: You show where it says I have to grease up to an N.C.O. before I hand out fags.
[US]E. Torres After Hours 172: I just greased you for sixty big ones.
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Ellroy L.A. Confidential 226: I’m going to ask some key people [...] to come in for some friendly questioning. You can help grease things.

5. (Aus. und.) to pay (for participating in a crime).

[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 29 Sept. 7/3: Only them wot’s fly is greased, & / Not too well by any means; / Never get a bloak to work, sir, / If you tips him 2 much beans.

6. to embellish, to add to.

[US]A.H. Lewis Boss 177: There’s highbinders up to your end of th’ alley who’ll want to be greased.
[US](con. 1964–8) J. Ellroy Cold Six Thousand 68: Wayne Senior greased the hit fund.

In phrases

grease a fat sow in the arse (v.) (also grease a fat pig in the arse, ...tail, grease a fat sow in the britch, stuff a fat pig in the tail, ...fat sow in the arse)

1. to give money to a rich man or woman.

[UK]J. Heywood Proverbs I Ch. xi: What should we (quoth I) grease the fat sow in th’ars.
[UK] ‘Bum-Fodder’ in Rump Poems & Songs II (1662) 56: Old Martin and Scot have all such an itch, / That they will with the Rump try t’other twitch, / And Lenthal can grease a fat Sow in the Britch.
[UK]J. Ray Proverbs 178: To grease a fat sow on the A---.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 135: ‘To stuff a fat pig in the tail,’ to give unnecessarily.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 3 June 1/1: It is hardly fair to issue free passes to the highly-paid [railway] officers - except on the good old Eddifying principle of ‘greasing the fat sow’.

2. in fig. use of sense 1, to toady to.

[UK]Sportsman (London) 22 Dec. 2/1: Notes on News [...] [A]ll the while [he] greases the fat sow of Conservatism.
grease one’s mitts (v.)

see under mitt n.

SE in slang uses

In phrases

grease down (v.)

see separate entry.

grease (off) (v.)

1. (also do a grease) to slip away.

[US] in Crockett Alamanac n.p.: Now what would you do – keep the tree from the bear [...] or grease and slope?
[UK]C. Rook Hooligan Nights 60: I ’ad a chance to grease off.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 4 Aug. 14/2: I happened to forget me weed, so I canters back to the waggon for it. A big Chow, who must have watched us leaving, was just doing a grease with our tucker-bag and billycan. I jumped off, grabbed a bit of rope, copped the Chink and tied up his hands and legs.
[UK]J.N. Hall Kitchener’s Mob 23: ‘I’m a-go’n’ to grease off out o’ this mob!’ [...] We felt we would all like to ‘grease off’.
[UK]Framlingham Wkly News 8 Dec. 3/7: Thieves’ Dialect [...] To ‘grease’ is to take hasty flight.

2. (also grease out) to go away.

[UK]P. MacGill The Great Push 107: ‘Get yer ’ipes,’ he yelled. ‘Quick! Grease out of it and get into the scrap.’.
[UK]Marvel 3 Mar. 7: Grease off, you beast!
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘Magisterial Mammas’ Sporting Times 10 Jan. 1/3: ‘Oh, I get you,’ he coughed, in a hurry to grease / Off to other and pleasanter quarters.
grease one’s chin (v.)

to drink alcohol.

[UK]Satirist (London) 6 May 147/1: Now our coppers began for to rattle, / And we longed for a grease of the chin. / Says I, ‘Moll, there’ll be moonshine in plenty, / And a skinfull of porter and gin’.
grease one’s/the gills (v.)

see under gills n.1

grease one’s throat (v.) (also grease one’s swallow, ... tonsils)

(US) to drink alcohol.

[UK]Dly Gaz. for Middlesborough 8 May 3/5: Ratepayers were paying for whisky to grease the throat of somebody else.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 10 Oct. 48/2: Presen’ly bits o’ th’ beers will grease ’is swaller all th’ way down, an’ he’ll come in fa th’ fourth beer.
in O. Lochlainn Irish Street Ballads 129: So take off your coat and grease your throat / With the real old mountain dew [HDAS].
[US](con. 1900s) G. Swarthout Shootist 92: From a pocket he slipped a pint bottle, offered it to Books. ‘Time to grease your tonsils, too.’.
grease someone in the fist (v.) (also grease someone’s fist)

to bribe someone.

[UK]Greene Quip for an Upstart Courtier F4: Let me whisper one thing in your eare, you will play the goodfellow too much if you be well greased in the fist.
[UK]W. Cartwright Ordinary I iv: slic.: You must oil it first. cred.: I understand you: / Grease him i’th’ fist, you mean. There’s just ten pieces, / ’Tis but an earnest: If he bring’t about.
[UK]F. Quarles Virgin Widow IV i: Greaze my fist with a Tester or two, and ye shall find it in your penny-worths.
[UK]C. Cotton Virgil Travestie (1765) Bk IV 74: Him she conjures, intreats, and prays, / With all the Cunning that she has, / Greases his Fist; nay more, engages / Thenceforth to mend his Quarters-Wages.
[UK]Motteux (trans.) Gargantua and Pantagruel (1927) II Bk V 556: The scabby slabberdegullions still waited for us at the port, expecting to be greased in the fist.
[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (3rd edn) 3: I’ve therefore brought you something handsome, / To grease your fists by way of ransome.
[UK]G. Parker Life’s Painter 133: Cease greasing their fists and they’ll soon cease their jaw.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (3rd edn).
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
grease someone’s duke (v.)

see under duke n.3

grease the rails (v.) (also grease the track) [ironic use of SE]

(US) to be run over by a train; to commit suicide by throwing oneself on the tracks.

[US] in Tamony Americanisms (S.F.) No. 19 9: I came to the conclusion that Overland Slim [...] had ‘greased the rails’.
[US] ‘Jargon of the Und.’ in DN V 448: Grease the track, To be run over by a train.
[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 91: Grease the Track. — To commit suicide by leaping in front of a train; to be run over.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 107: grease the track To fall under a moving train.
grease the wheel (v.)

to have sexual intercourse.

[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[US]Maledicta IV:2 (Winter) 182: The tendency [for vaginal fluid to flow] is also remembered in the phrase to grease the wheel.
grease up (v.)

(Aus. prison/US gay) to prepare with a lubricant for anal sex.

[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 99: greased up having some form of lubricant smeared, about the anus to insure an easy intromission.
[Aus]Tupper & Wortley Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. 🌐 Grease up. Prepare with a lubricant for anal sex.

In exclamations

grease me!

(US) a non-specific expression of approval.

[US]D. Hammett Red Harvest (1965) 16: ‘Grease us twice!’ His greenish eyes glittered happily. ‘Are you telling me the Whisper was there?’.
[US]M.H. Boulware Jive and Sl. n.p.: Grease me, babe ... I like it, girl.