• synonyms


  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.
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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.
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verb (used without object), bribed, brib·ing.
  1. to give a bribe; practice bribery.
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Origin of bribe

1350–1400; Middle English < Middle French: remnant of food given as alms, said to be < an expressive base *bri(m)b- denoting something small
Related formsbrib·a·ble, bribe·a·ble, adjectivebrib·a·bil·i·ty, bribe·a·bil·i·ty, nounbrib·ee, nounbrib·er, nounout·bribe, verb (used with object), out·bribed, out·brib·ing.un·brib·a·ble, adjectiveun·brib·a·bly, adverbun·bribed, adjectiveun·brib·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for briber

Historical Examples of briber

  • And then the latter man has the briber so much at advantage.

    Lady Anna

    Anthony Trollope

  • Perhaps you would be willing to give me the name of this briber, Mr. Hatch?

    The Wreckers

    Francis Lynde

  • Briber and grafter are now 'good men,' and would have passed for virtuous in the American community of seventy years ago.

  • André was a spy and briber, who sought to ruin the American cause by means of the treachery of an American general.

    George Washington, Vol. I

    Henry Cabot Lodge

British Dictionary definitions for briber


  1. to promise, offer, or give something, usually money, to (a person) to procure services or gain influence, esp illegally
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  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
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Derived Formsbribable or bribeable, adjectivebriber, noun

Word Origin for bribe

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

Word Origin and History for briber



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.

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late 14c., "pilfer, steal," also "practice extortion," from Old French briber "go begging," from bribe (see bribe (n.)). Related: Bribed; bribing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper