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 ?
One crossed himself continually, the other scratched his back and made a movement of the lips resembling a smile.
The 32-year-old finally decided to get it looked at, after he scratched his back and his fingernail got caught on something.
He said they also burned his hands with cigarettes and scratched his back with knives.
When he arrived in Norway's Skaalvik Fjord earlier this month, he was besieged by admirers who trailed him in boats, scratched his back, fed him fish and even got in the water to ride on his back.
The singer scratched his back with her nails and wraps her legs around him as they roll around naked during a steamy bed encounter.