- 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.
- anything given or serving to persuade or induce: The children were given candy as a bribe to be good.
- to give or promise a bribe to: They bribed the reporter to forget about what he had seen.
- to influence or corrupt by a bribe: The judge was too honest to be bribed.
- to give a bribe; practice bribery.
Origin of bribe
- to promise, offer, or give something, usually money, to (a person) to procure services or gain influence, esp illegally
- a reward, such as money or favour, given or offered for this purpose
- any persuasion or lure
- a length of flawed or damaged cloth removed from the main piece
Word Origin for bribe
late 14c., "thing stolen," from Old French bribe "bit, piece, hunk; morsel of bread given to beggars" (14c., cf. Old French bribeor "vagrant, beggar"), from briber, brimber "to beg," a general Romanic word (Gamillscheg marks it as Rotwelsch, i.e. "thieves' jargon"), of uncertain origin; old sources suggest Celtic (cf. Breton breva "to break"). Shift of meaning to "gift given to influence corruptly" is by mid-15c.
late 14c., "pilfer, steal," also "practice extortion," from Old French briber "go begging," from bribe (see bribe (n.)). Related: Bribed; bribing.