1. the melted or rendered fat of animals, especially when in a soft state.
  2. fatty or oily matter in general; lubricant.
  3. Also called grease wool. wool, as shorn, before being cleansed of the oily matter.
  4. Also called grease-heel [grees-heel] /ˈgrisˌhil/. Veterinary Pathology. inflammation of a horse’s skin in the fetlock region, attended with an oily secretion.
  5. Informal. a bribe.

verb (used with object), greased, greasing.

  1. to put grease on; lubricate: to grease the axle of a car.
  2. to smear or cover with grease.
  3. to cause to occur easily; smooth the way; facilitate.
  4. Informal. to bribe.


  1. grease someone’s palm. palm1(def 19).

noun (ɡriːs, ɡriːz)

  1. animal fat in a soft or melted condition
  2. any thick fatty oil, esp one used as a lubricant for machinery, etc
  3. Also called: grease wool shorn fleece before it has been cleaned
  4. Also called: seborrhoea vet science inflammation of the skin of horses around the fetlocks, usually covered with an oily secretion

verb (ɡriːz, ɡriːs) (tr)

  1. to soil, coat, or lubricate with grease
  2. to ease the course ofhis education greased his path to success
  3. grease the palm of or grease the hand of slang to bribe; influence by giving money to

n.c.1300, from Anglo-French grece, from Old French gresse, craisse “grease, fat” (Modern French graisse), from Vulgar Latin *crassia “(melted) animal fat, grease,” from Latin crassus “thick, solid, fat” (cf. Spanish grasa, Italian grassa). Grease paint, used by actors, attested from 1888. Grease monkey “mechanic” is from 1928. v.c.1300, from grease (n.). Sense of “ply with bribe or protection money” is 1520s, from notion of grease the wheels “make things run smoothly” (mid-15c.). To grease (someone’s) palm is from 1580s. Expression greased lightning, representing something that goes very fast, is American English, by 1832. In addition to the idioms beginning with grease

  • grease someone’s palm
  • grease the wheels
  • also see:

  • elbow grease
  • like greased lightning
  • squeaky wheel gets the grease
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