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silent partner

Someone who is closely associated or involved with a business or corporation, typically through financial investment, so as to share in its risks and rewards without participating in its day-to-day operations and management. Primarily heard in US. Dave's father agreed to be a silent partner when we started our company, leaving us to run it once it was set up. In an attempt to crack down on corruption, federal investigators have begun looking into various silent partners that might be financing the drug trade throughout the country.
See also: partner, silent

partners in crime

1. Fig. persons who cooperate in committing a crime or a deception. (Usually an exaggeration.) The sales manager and the used-car salesmen are nothing but partners in crime.
2. persons who cooperate in some legal task. The legal department and payroll are partners in crime as far as the average worker is concerned.
See also: crime, partner

sleeping partner

  (British) also silent partner (American & Australian)
someone who is closely involved with a company, and often provides money for it, but is not a manager of it He was an extremely wealthy man, and she was hoping he might become a sleeping partner in their new vineyards.
See also: partner, sleep

partners in crime

if two people are partners in crime, they have done something bad together She'd kept watch and made sure no one saw us while I actually took the bike so we were partners in crime.
See also: crime, partner

sparring partner

An individual with whom one enjoys arguing, as in Jim's my best sparring partner. This expression alludes to boxing, where since about 1900 it has denoted the person one practices or trains with. [Mid-1900s] Also see spar with.
See also: partner, spar

partner up

1. To arrange some things or people in groups of two: The gym teacher partnered up the students and started a tennis tournament. The organizer partnered us up with some new volunteers.
2. To form pairs or a pair; become partners: The dance students partnered up and started to waltz.
See also: partner, up