View synonyms for bribe


[ brahyb ]


  1. money or any other valuable consideration given or promised with a view to corrupting the behavior of a person, especially in that person's performance as an athlete, public official, etc.:

    The motorist offered the arresting officer a bribe to let him go.

  2. anything given or serving to persuade or induce:

    The children were given candy as a bribe to be good.

verb (used with object)

, bribed, brib·ing.
  1. to give or promise a bribe to:

    They bribed the reporter to forget about what he had seen.

  2. to influence or corrupt by a bribe:

    The judge was too honest to be bribed.

verb (used without object)

, bribed, brib·ing.
  1. to give a bribe; practice bribery.


/ braɪb /


  1. to promise, offer, or give something, usually money, to (a person) to procure services or gain influence, esp illegally
“Collins English Dictionary — Complete & Unabridged” 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012


  1. a reward, such as money or favour, given or offered for this purpose
  2. any persuasion or lure
  3. a length of flawed or damaged cloth removed from the main piece
“Collins English Dictionary — Complete & Unabridged” 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Derived Forms

  • ˈbribable, adjective
  • ˈbriber, noun
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Other Words From

  • briba·ble bribea·ble adjective
  • briba·bili·ty bribea·bili·ty noun
  • brib·ee noun
  • briber noun
  • outbribe verb (used with object) outbribed outbribing
  • un·briba·ble adjective
  • un·briba·bly adverb
  • un·bribed adjective
  • un·bribing adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of bribe1

1350–1400; Middle English < Middle French: remnant of food given as alms, said to be < an expressive base *bri ( m ) b- denoting something small
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Word History and Origins

Origin of bribe1

C14: from Old French briber to beg, of obscure origin
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Example Sentences

There’s been billions in government money unilaterally allocated to “farmers,” but the line on that has been that money is kind of a bribe so that American farmers don’t get mad about the tariffs that have been going on.

From Eater

There were many organizations that didn’t pay bribes and were able to complete their work.

The Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, which performed these audits, did find that billions of dollars across all projects — though not Yahn’s specifically — had been lost to corruption and bribes.

She recalled her personal experience standing up to threats and declining bribes.

It uncovered hefty bribes to get undeserving kids into college with rigged test scores or fake athletic credentials.

From Fortune

Cocaine busts, tax cheats, and bribe-taking, born-again Christians: Welcome to the political scandals of 2014.

In a sense, she attempts to bribe the pastor, offering to make his church her home.

But at least in Moscow, a bribe or a good connection stand you a fighting chance to get what you need.

Asked if he did anything wrong, Cianci responded simply, “I was not guilty of conspiracy to take a bribe.”

“I did not have enough money to bribe the judge, so I decided to become a mercenary,” Mozhayev told a local reporter.

If you knew an honourable man was to be offered a bribe to do a dishonourable act, you would feel sure he would refuse it.

It throve because it came with the tempting bribe of Heaven in one hand, and the withering threat of Hell in the other.

Father is in a rage because I will not stay home; he offered me to-day the deed for two hundred acres as a bribe.

He tried to bribe us to let him go, and made us repeated offers until he reached a figure as high as ten thousand dollars.

He said he had sat the whole day at the Central Station watching passengers giving bribe to procure their tickets.


Related Words

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More About Bribe

What does bribe mean?

A bribe is money or something else of value offered or given to someone to get them to do something you want them to do, especially something they’re not supposed to do.

Bribe can also be used as a verb meaning to offer or give someone a bribe. The act of doing so is called bribery.

In most cases, this refers to the often illegal act of offering money to people in official positions, like politicians, government officials, or sports referees, in order to get them to change an outcome to be more favorable to the person offering the bribe. For example, a businessperson might bribe a senator to vote a certain way, which is of course illegal.

Bribe can also refer to offering an incentive (or the incentive itself) to someone to do something, especially a child, as in I tried bribing the kids with TV time as a reward for cleaning up their room, but apparently even bribes don’t work because they didn’t do it. 

Example: The video clearly shows the lobbyist presenting the senator a briefcase full of money as a bribe for a favorable vote—it’s an open-and-shut case of bribery.

Where does bribe come from?

The first records of the word bribe come from the 1300s (though of course people have certainly been bribing each other for much longer than that). It comes from a Middle French word meaning “remnant of food given as alms.”

Bribery is often illegal. Bribing government officials is always illegal, and this is the kind of bribe you often hear about in the news, when such corruption has been uncovered. A bribe like this can result in prison time. But bribes frequently happen in much less official situations. The classic example is slipping the host at a restaurant a bribe to get a table without a reservation. While such bribes aren’t illegal, they’re almost always unethical.

What’s the difference between bribery and extortion? Extortion is basically the act of requiring a bribe from someone, or forcing someone to provide money or favors in some other corrupt way.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to bribe?

What are some words that often get used in discussing bribe?

What are some words bribe may be commonly confused with?

How is bribe used in real life?

The word bribe is most often used in a legal context referring to corruption cases involving officials who have taken money in exchange for doing something they shouldn’t.



Try using bribe!

Is bribe used correctly in the following sentence?

Just because the bribe wasn’t money doesn’t mean this isn’t a case of bribery.