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a well-oiled machine
Someone or something that functions very well or efficiently. Trudy and I have been working together in the attendance office for so long, we're like a well-oiled machine at this point.
See also: machine
like a well-oiled machine
Said of someone or something that functions very well or efficiently. Trudy and I have been working together in the attendance office for so long, we're like a well-oiled machine at this point.
oil (one's) hand
To bribe one (to do or facilitate something), as or as if by slipping money into one's hand. A: "How are we going to get a table without a reservation?" B: "Don't worry, I oiled the hostess' hand, and she promised us a table in no time." I oiled my brother's hand to stop him from telling Mom that I had a party while she was away.
oil (one's) palm
To bribe one (to do or facilitate something), as or as if by slipping money into one's hand. A: "How are we going to get a table without a reservation?" B: "Don't worry, I oiled the hostess' palm, and she promised us a table in no time." I oiled my brother's palm to stop him from telling Mom that I had a party while she was away.
slang To work or study into the very late hours of the night or the very early hours of the next morning. An adaptation of the phrase "burn the midnight oil," which means the same. I tend not to spend too much time studying for exams, typically just oiling it the night before instead. If you keep oiling it this way, you're going to end up digging yourself an early grave!
See also: oil
oil the wheels
To facilitate, expedite, ease, or aid something or some process; to make or help things run more smoothly or more easily. Primarily heard in UK. Hopefully this shift in public opinion will help oil the wheels of immigration reform. The clients have been reluctant to sign on for another year, so we're offering a cash incentive to help oil the wheels.
To cover someone or something in oil, especially in preparation for some task or activity. A noun or pronoun can be used between "oil" and "up." That bike's been sitting in the shed for months, so make sure you oil up the chain before you take it out again. They oiled the muscly model up so that his pecs and biceps would shine nicely for the photo shoot.
1. Operating very smoothly or efficiently. Sometimes hyphenated (and always before a noun). Their whole campaign has been well-oiled from the very beginning. The company has become a well-oiled machine under her direction.
2. Drunk. Sometimes hyphenated (and always before a noun). We spent the evening getting well oiled on local liqueurs. Several well-oiled patrons stumbled out of the bar, itching for a fight.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
oil the wheelsBRITISH or
grease the wheelsmainly AMERICAN
If someone or something oils the wheels or greases the wheels of a process or system, they help things to happen successfully and without problems. The Bank of Amsterdam, a government bank owned by the city, had been established specifically to help oil the wheels of commerce. This effectively oils the wheels of diplomacy. Credit cards greased the wheels of the consumer boom by allowing us to buy what we want, when we want.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
oil the ˈwheels(British English) (American English grease the ˈwheels) help something to happen easily and without problems, especially in business or politics: He doesn’t worry about bureaucratic procedures because he knows just where to oil the wheels.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
To coat something thoroughly with oil: The mechanic oiled up the engine. The therapist oiled my back up and worked out the knots in my muscles.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
tv. to study all night. (Literally, burn the midnight oil.) I have a test tomorrow, and I really have to oil it tonight.
See also: oil
mod. alcohol or drug intoxicated. She’s not just drunk; she’s totally oiled.
1. mod. alcohol intoxicated. He was well-oiled and couldn’t stand up.
2. mod. talkative. She was sure well-oiled. I thought she’d never stop talking.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.