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Greasing the cogs

Posted by Baceseras on March 13, 2010 at 15:27

In Reply to: Greasing the cogs posted by Amster on March 12, 2010 at 20:07:

: Have we got an origin on the site about 'Greasing the cogs', used in the context of bribery etc?

[The phrase for offering a bribe is "grease the palm" or "grease the hand." It's proverbial in English at least since the sixteenth century. The phrase "grease the wheels" doesn't necessarily imply bribery; it means to help things run smoothly by providing amenities for those who have to do the work. The first authentic use recorded in the OED is surprisingly late: 1809, in a translation of _Gil Blas_. Changing the application from "wheels" to "cogs" appears to be just for variety's sake, with the same meaning. - Bac.]