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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.
See also: oil, wheel

oil the wheels


grease the wheels

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.
See also: oil, wheel

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.
See also: oil, wheel


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.
References in periodicals archive ?
Researchers from STRI also looked at 12 sites along coral reefs, 6 of them heavily oiled, 2 moderately oiled, and 4 clean.
That's well below the $100 to $150 per barrel recovery cost associated with mechanically skimming spilled oil from water and the $10,000 or more per barrel that Exxon sometimes spent to clean certain heavily oiled and highly valued beaches in Alaska after the Exxon Valdez spill.
But his studies indicate that shallow, intertidal sediments generally remained pristine - totally free of petroleum residues - unless or until oiled by the Exxon Valdez spill.
Her own histopathology studies show that "the tissues of fish in the oiled areas are more screwed up than tissues from fish in unoiled,' she says.
Indeed, water taken from oiled beach sediment revealed that active bacteria usually make up part of any naturally produced oil-clay floc.
Almost immediately Exxon Company USA vowed to put "the full resources of Exxon" into capturing and rehabilitating as many oiled otters as possible, Davis remembers.
As a result, heavily oiled fur can lose 70 percent of its insulating value.
And that means that unless a heavily oiled sea otter leaves the water, it will die quickly.