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bear the palm

To win. Palm leaves were formerly used as symbols of victory. I heard that you might bear the palm at the science fair! Congratulations—it would be a well-deserved victory.
See also: bear, palm

cross (one's) palm

To pay someone, often as a bribe. Well, if you cross my palm, I might remember a few details about the people you're asking about. I crossed her palm to make sure she won't come after us.
See also: cross, palm

cross someone's palm with silver

Fig. to pay money to someone in payment for a service. (A fortune-teller might ask for a potential customer to cross her palm with silver. Used in that sense or jocularly for something like tipping a porter.) I crossed his palm with silver, but he still stood there. You will find that things happen much faster in hotels if you cross the staff's palms with silver fairly often.
See also: cross, palm, silver

grease someone's palm

 and oil someone's palm
Fig. to bribe someone. If you want to get something done around here, you have to grease someone's palm. I'd never oil a police officer's palm. That's illegal.
See also: grease, palm

*itchy palm

 and *itching palm
Fig. [of a hand] in need of a tip. (As if placing money in the palm would stop the itching. *Typically: get ~; have ~; give someone ~.) All the waiters at that restaurant have itchy palms. The cabdriver was troubled by an itching palm. Since he refused to carry my bags, I gave him nothing. Whenever he sees expensive luggage, the hotel doorman gets an itching palm.
See also: itchy, palm

know someone or something like the palm of one's hand

 and know someone or something like the back of one's hand; know someone or something like a book
to know someone or something very well. Of course I know John. I know him like the back of my hand. I know him like a book.
See also: hand, know, like, of, palm

palm someone or something off (on someone) (as someone or something)

 and pass someone or something off (on someone) (as someone or something); pawn someone or something off (on someone) (as someone or something)
Fig. to give someone or something to someone as a gift that appears to be someone or something desirable. (As if the gift had been concealed in one's palm until it was gotten rid of.) Are you trying to palm that annoying client off on me as a hot prospect? Don't palm off that pest on me. Please don't pass that problem off on me as a challenge. Don't pass it off on me! Don't pawn it off on me as something of value.
See also: off, palm

grease somebody's palm

also grease the palm of somebody
to give someone money to persuade them to do what you want Some of those candidates spent money greasing the palms of local political bosses.
See also: grease, palm

in the palm of your hand

under your complete control The audience was fascinated - he held them in the palm of his hand.
See also: hand, of, palm

palm off something

also palm something off
to trick or persuade someone to take something They palmed off cheap wine at high prices by putting it in fancy bottles. She produced fake stamps and palmed them off as genuine.
Related vocabulary: fob something off on somebody
See also: off, palm

grease somebody's palm

to give money to someone in authority in order to persuade them to do something for you, especially something wrong Drug barons were greasing the palm of the chief of police.
See also: grease, palm

have somebody in the palm of your hand

  also have somebody eating out of the palm of your hand
to have so much control over someone that they will do whatever you want them to do She's got her boyfriend eating out of the palm of her hand. It was such an amazing performance - he had the audience in the palm of his hand.
See grease palm
See also: hand, have, of, palm

cross someone's palm with silver

Pay for a service; pay in advance. For example, I'll give you all the details, but first cross my palm with silver. This phrase alludes to the old practice of placing silver coins across a gypsy fortuneteller's hand before having one's fortune told. Today it is sometimes used in a jocular way to ask for a bribe or a tip, as in the example. [c. 1700] Also see grease someone's palm.
See also: cross, palm, silver

grease someone's palm

Also, oil someone's palm or hand . Give someone money in exchange for a favor; also, bribe someone. For example, If you want you luggage to make the plane, be sure to grease the porter's palm. This term uses grease in the sense of "enrich." [First half of 1500s]
See also: grease, palm

itchy palm

Also, itching palm. A desire for money, greed; also, wanting a bribe. For example, The porter has an itchy palm; he wants a big tip, or The mayor was known for his itchy palm. This expression alludes to placing money in the palm of the hand. [Late 1500s]
See also: itchy, palm

palm off

Pass off by deception, substitute with intent to deceive, as in The salesman tried to palm off a zircon as a diamond, or The producer tried to palm her off as a star from the Metropolitan Opera. This expression alludes to concealing something in the palm of one's hand. It replaced the earlier palm on in the early 1800s.
See also: off, palm

palm off

To get rid of or dispose of something by fraud or deception; fob off: The crooked merchant palmed off a lot of fake diamonds before being caught. Someone tried to palm some old coins off on me yesterday, saying they were rare and valuable.
See also: off, palm


and palm-presser
n. a politician. Being a flesh-presser is risky during flu season. A palm-presser came to our door to ask us what we thought about his issues.



grease someone’s palm

tv. to pay someone a bribe. I had to grease the clerk’s palm in order to get the job done.
See also: grease, palm


tv. to conceal something in the hand as in a theft or the performance of a magic trick; to receive and conceal a tip or a bribe. The kid palmed the candy bar and walked right out of the store.

palm someone/something off (on someone)

tv. to transfer some unwanted person or thing to another person. Don’t palm her off on me. I don’t want her.
See also: off, on, palm

palm someone/something off

See also: off, palm

palm something off (on someone)

tv. to succeed in spending counterfeit money; to succeed in cashing a bad check. (Underworld.) Max palmed four phony twenties off in less than an hour.
See also: off, on, palm

palm something off

See also: off, palm


n. a bribe; a tip. How much palm-oil does it take to get this deed recorded in reasonable time?

cross (someone's) palm

To pay, tip, or bribe.
See also: cross, palm

an itchy palm

A strong desire for money, especially bribes.
See also: itchy, palm
References in classic literature ?
The latter dodged behind a palm trunk, counting the shots, and when the eighth had been fired he rushed in on the wounded man.
That seemed to the boys a very odd idea for a man who had never seen a palm in his life.
Just have Sam here, or any of your three, slide in and spike him from the palm.
and to him is given the palm in the middle-class of speech' is just, but is liable to give a wrong impression.
I'll have the palm of me hand investigated by the wonderful palmist of the Nile, and see if what is to be will be.
Sure, 'tis no beauty, but ye hold the palm of me hand.
Ye should know," says he, "I'm working out the salvation promised by the lines in me palm.
And that's what I'm doing," says I, "for, in my opinion, there's no fortune to be read from the palm of me hand that wasn't printed there with the handle of a pick.
Sure, now, I would be thinking the palm of me hand lied but for the coming true of the nigger man and the blonde lady and--"
At one time he stooped so low as almost to touch the ground; at another he drew himself up and attentively examined the wall; then he looked into the palm of one of his hands, and walked away with rapid strides.
What he was continually looking at in the palm of his right hand was nothing but his watch, the minute hand of which he appeared to be noting intently.
Sabin from his seat behind a gigantic palm watched her egress from the supper-room with a little group of friends.
As a mortal equally with myself, whose hand I take in mine for the first time this day, having unaccountably overlooked that act so full of boundless confidence binding a fellow-creetur TO a fellow creetur,' says Wegg, holding Mr Venus's palm out, flat and ready for smiting, and now smiting it; 'as such--and no other--for I scorn all lowlier ties betwixt myself and the man walking with his face erect that alone I call my Twin--regarded and regarding in this trustful bond--what do you think he might have hid?
As one that was ever an ornament to human life,' says Mr Wegg, again holding out Mr Venus's palm as if he were going to tell his fortune by chiromancy, and holding his own up ready for smiting it when the time should come; 'as one that the poet might have had his eye on, in writing the national naval words:
The palm of Silas Wegg descends with a sounding smack upon the palm of Venus, and Wegg lavishly exclaims, 'Twin in opinion equally with feeling