verb (used with object), bribed, brib·ing.
verb (used without object), bribed, brib·ing.
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Origin of bribe
OTHER WORDS FROM bribe
Words nearby 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.
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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.
— Darren Heitner (@DarrenHeitner) September 30, 2015
PENNSYLVANIA. Disgraced ex-Cong Michael "Ozzie" Myers (D), 77, who served 3 years in fed prison for taking bribes in the 1979 ABSCAM scandal, is now a campaign consultant and apparently a central figure in the latest Philly criminal vote buying scandal. https://t.co/GZRbChxgGz
— Politics1.com (@Politics1com) May 27, 2020
All I’m saying is that when I risk prison to bribe my kids’ way into college, it won’t be USC
— Taffy Brodesser-Akner (@taffyakner) March 13, 2019
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.
Example sentences from the Web for bribe
It uncovered hefty bribes to get undeserving kids into college with rigged test scores or fake athletic credentials.
In a sense, she attempts to bribe the pastor, offering to make his church her home.The Good Wife’s Religion Politics: Voters Have No Faith in Alicia's Atheism|Regina Lizik|November 24, 2014|DAILY BEAST
But at least in Moscow, a bribe or a good connection stand you a fighting chance to get what you need.Despite ObamaCare, US Health System Still a Complete Mess|Molly Worthen|October 11, 2014|DAILY BEAST
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.
Suppose a congressional aide overhears a phone call in which a senator takes a bribe.
Wherever Henry or his allies could bribe or bully the learned doctors, an answer was usually given in the affirmative.A Student's History of England, v. 2 (of 3)|Samuel R. Gardiner.
No bribe could seduce—no threat divert Mr. Adams from the path of duty.Sages and Heroes of the American Revolution|L. Carroll Judson
He thought of going back and finding Maria Consuelo's maid—he might bribe her to prevent her mistress's departure.Don Orsino|F. Marion Crawford
I reckoned on being able to bribe Forde to help me to do this.Mortomley's Estate, Vol. III (of 3)|Charlotte Elizabeth Lawson Cowan Riddell
Why will they attempt to bribe Science to certify to the writings of God?Individuality|Robert G. Ingersoll