noun, plural brib·er·ies.
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WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH briberybribery extortion
Words nearby bribery
What does bribery mean?
Bribery is the act of giving money (or something else of value) to someone to get them to do something you want them to do, especially something they’re not supposed to do.
In other words, bribery is the act of bribing someone—offering them a bribe.
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.
Bribery can also refer to the practice of offering someone an incentive to do something, especially a child, as in I tried offering the kids TV time as a reward for cleaning up their room, but apparently bribery doesn’t work because they didn’t do it.
Bribery can also refer to the exchange or acceptance of a bribe, but it most commonly refers to the act of offering it.
Example: The video clearly shows the lobbyist presenting the senator a briefcase full of money and asking for a favorable vote—it’s an open-and-shut case of bribery.
Where does bribery come from?
The first records of the word bribery come from the 1300s (though of course people have certainly been bribing each other for much longer than that). It comes from the Middle English briberie, which means “theft” and is derived from a Middle French word meaning “begging.” The word bribe 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 bribery you often hear about in the news, when such corruption has been uncovered. Bribery like this can result in prison time. But bribery frequently happens in much less official situations. The classic example is slipping the host at a restaurant some money to get a table without a reservation. While such cases of bribery 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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What are some other forms related to bribery?
What are some words that share a root or word element with bribery?
What are some words that often get used in discussing bribery?
What are some words bribery may be commonly confused with?
How is bribery used in real life?
The word bribery 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.
BREAKING: Israeli Justice Ministry: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicted on fraud, breach of trust and bribery.
— The Associated Press (@AP) November 21, 2019
Now that the Hollywood Bribery Ring has been busted, the only thing helping rich kids get into college are legacy admissions, private tutors, board member connections, unpaid summer internships, interview coaches, and a lifetime of Ivy-bound grooming!!!
— Bess Kalb (@bessbell) March 12, 2019
Today from the college basketball bribery trial government witness Marty Blazer said between 2010-14 he paid from several hundred to several thousand dollars to FOOTBALL players from:
— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) April 23, 2019
Try using bribery!
Is bribery 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 bribery
If true, however, this would be bribery at its most audacious—and creative.
This kind of dependence on donors is a broader, older idea of “corruption” than bribery.Undo Citizens United? We’d Only Scratch the Surface|Jedediah Purdy|November 12, 2014|DAILY BEAST
One brother, state Sen. Floyd Lamb, was convicted in an FBI bribery sting.The Cowboy Sheriff of Las Vegas Rides Into ‘Mob Museum’|John L. Smith|June 8, 2014|DAILY BEAST
They both face 20 years in prison for their alleged involvement in bribery schemes.
Moreover, she wastes no time in striking Will where it hurts by using his bribery scandal against him.In The Good Wife’s Explosive ‘Hitting the Fan,’ That’s Exactly What Happens|Chancellor Agard|October 28, 2013|DAILY BEAST
All the officials are on their guard; they are highly placed, and are not likely to be got at by bribery.Jennie Baxter, Journalist|Robert Barr
Give him a free hand and tell him to deliver the goods by any means short of bribery.The Valley of the Giants|Peter B. Kyne
The single sentry he could suborn, or else—if bribery failed—poniard.Love-at-Arms|Raphael Sabatini
An age of bribery terminates in one colossal crime of corruption!Caesar's Column|Ignatius Donnelly
Jim offered any bribery that might suffice, but ahead of him went his notoriety.We Can't Have Everything|Rupert Hughes