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 periodicals archive ?
Lowry scratched back within a shot of Pan with a birdie on the 14th, but could come no closer.
The Highlanders, though, scratched back in the third quarter.
Down by as much as 22 points, Alaska decided to bite the bullet and scratched back into the game.
For Nintendo, the grim forecast is especially disappointing after it scratched back to profitability last year thanks to a sharply weaker yen, which inflates Japanese firms' repatriated profits.
The Birds scratched back with one in the third, but Kerrigan was roughed up for four runs on five hits in the last of the third before Tippy Martinez bailed him out.
Callum was left with a scratched back and bruised knee after his fall.
We scratched back. By now we were up to 6000 - and not a sausage between us.
Frontier scratched back with a run of its own in the bottom half to tie the game at one.
The Cougars scratched back into the game on an RBI single by Yale Rosen in the fourth inning and a two-run, game-tying single by Nick Tanielu in the bottom of the sixth.