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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in classic literature ?
They nurse one ash-cat at a time, and the others scratch their backs against the door-post and are happy.
They lavishly give away all the privileges to a limited number of people who scratch their backs. Is this doing prevention?
MY guinea pigs always make a 'brr' sound when we make loud noises, walk past them and when we scratch their backs. Why?
Elephants, for instance, will use branches to scratch their backs. But the "tool" of insight, observed in some primates and other species, had not previously been demonstrated in elephants, even though they are generally considered smart because of their excellent memory and other abilities.
Grizzlies often scratch their backs against trees to mark their territory--and relieve an itch.
Because the design closely mirrors a human limb, users could even ask it to scratch their backs, say its creators..
It's the only place to scratch their backs,' he said."