[noun grees; verb grees, greez]


verb (used with object), greased, greasing.


    grease someone's palm. palm1(def 19).

Origin of grease

1250–1300; Middle English grese, grece, greice < Anglo-French grece, gresse, Old French craisse (French graisse) < Vulgar Latin *crassia, equivalent to Latin crass(us) fat, thick + -ia noun suffix
Related formsgrease·less, adjectivegrease·less·ness, noungrease·proof, adjectivere·grease, verb (used with object), re·greased, re·greas·ing.un·greased, adjectivewell-greased, adjective
Can be confusedgrease Greece Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for grease

Contemporary Examples of grease

Historical Examples of grease

British Dictionary definitions for grease


noun (ɡriːs, ɡriːz)

animal fat in a soft or melted condition
any thick fatty oil, esp one used as a lubricant for machinery, etc
Also called: grease wool shorn fleece before it has been cleaned
Also called: seborrhoea vet science inflammation of the skin of horses around the fetlocks, usually covered with an oily secretion

verb (ɡriːz, ɡriːs) (tr)

to soil, coat, or lubricate with grease
to ease the course ofhis education greased his path to success
grease the palm of or grease the hand of slang to bribe; influence by giving money to
Derived Formsgreaseless, adjective

Word Origin for grease

C13: from Old French craisse, from Latin crassus thick
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 grease

c.1300, from Anglo-French grece, from Old French gresse, craisse "grease, fat" (Modern French graisse), from Vulgar Latin *crassia "(melted) animal fat, grease," from Latin crassus "thick, solid, fat" (cf. Spanish grasa, Italian grassa). Grease paint, used by actors, attested from 1888. Grease monkey "mechanic" is from 1928.


c.1300, from grease (n.). Sense of "ply with bribe or protection money" is 1520s, from notion of grease the wheels "make things run smoothly" (mid-15c.). To grease (someone's) palm is from 1580s. Expression greased lightning, representing something that goes very fast, is American English, by 1832.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with grease


In addition to the idioms beginning with grease

  • grease someone's palm
  • grease the wheels

also see:

  • elbow grease
  • like greased lightning
  • squeaky wheel gets the grease
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.