scratch (one's) back

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scratch (one's) back

To provide one with a favor; to do something generous, helpful, or beneficial for someone. Usually implies that the favor is expected or hoped to be returned in the future. The president has been accused of scratching the oil industry's backs with a series of executive actions that put them in a position to make a lot more money. I've been scratching his back for years now—getting him a job, helping him move into his apartment, lending him money to buy furniture. The least he could do is help me clean out my house before I move. Just get me the information on the senator I need, and I'll make sure it's worth your while—you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours, OK?
See also: back, scratch

scratch someone's back

 
1. Lit. to scratch, usually with the fingers, the parts of someone's back that they cannot reach. Please scratch my back between my shoulder blades.
2. Fig. to do a favor for someone in return for a favor done for you. You scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours. We believe that the mayor has been scratching the treasurer's back.
See also: back, scratch

scratch someone's back

Do someone a favor in hopes that a favor will be returned. For example, I don't mind driving this time-she's scratched my back plenty of times. It also is put as you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours, as in If you do the laundry I'll do the cooking-you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. This idiom was first recorded in 1704.
See also: back, scratch
References in classic literature ?
Captain Winters could rub his ears, shake hands with his, scratch his back, and even roughly catch him by the jowls.
And Gunto, summoned, says that Tana is lazy and will not bring him nuts and beetles, or scratch his back for him.
The two were the best of buddies when it looked as if Trump could fuel Salmond's independence dream and it seemed to the US billionaire that the then first minister could scratch his back for a golf course.
"He enjoys chasing a ball into the sea, even when the weather is cold, and loves to roll around and really scratch his back in the sand.
He wanted people to see him first, and what they see these days are thick neck muscles, shoulders so massive that he can't scratch his back, a powerful bulge in his arms, and a chest that has been deliberately chiseled for the two-button look--what Alexander now calls "my most endearing feature."
And when Carling was linked off-field with Princess Di, he reckoned he couldn't scratch his back for knives.