Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.
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.
oil (one's) hand
To bribe one discreetly, as by slipping money into their palm. 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 discreetly, as by slipping money into their palm. 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.
oil (someone or something) up
To cover someone or something in oil so as to lubricate them or it in preparation for some task or activity. 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.
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.
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.
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.