bribe

\ \ [14] The origin of bribe is obscure, and its semantic history is particularly involved. The word first turns up in Old French, as a noun meaning ‘piece of bread, especially one given to a beggar’. From this, the progression of senses seems to have been to a more general ‘alms’; then to the ‘practice of living on alms’; then, pejoratively, to simple ‘begging’. From there it was a short step to ‘stealing’, and that was the meaning the verb had when first recorded in English. The shift to the current application to financial corruption occurred in the 16th century, originally, it seems, in the context of judges and others in authority who exacted, or ‘stole’, money in exchange for favours such as lenient sentences.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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  • bribe — bribe …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • bribe — [ brib ] n. f. • XIVe; probablt d un rad. expressif 1 ♦ Vieilli Menu morceau, petite quantité. ⇒ fragment, parcelle. « Et plus une bribe de tabac » (Martin du Gard). 2 ♦ Fig. Des bribes de conversations, de phrases, de souvenirs. « j avais appris …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • bribe — 1 n: a benefit (as money) given, promised, or offered in order to influence the judgment or conduct of a person in a position of trust (as an official or witness) compare kickback bribe 2 vt bribed, brib·ing: to influence (a person) by giving a… …   Law dictionary

  • Bribe — Bribe, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Bribed}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Bribing}.] 1. To rob or steal. [Obs.] Chaucer. [1913 Webster] 2. To give or promise a reward or consideration to (a judge, juror, legislator, voter, or other person in a position of trust)… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Bribe — Bribe, v. i. 1. To commit robbery or theft. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] 2. To give a bribe to a person; to pervert the judgment or corrupt the action of a person in a position of trust, by some gift or promise. [1913 Webster] An attempt to bribe,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • bribe — BRIBE. s. f. Gros morceau de pain, Une bribe de pain. une grosse bribe de pain. il a mangé une bribe de pain bis. Bribe, Se dit aussi par extension, des morceaux de viande que les valets serrent, que l on donne à ceux qui demandent l aumosne. Ce… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Bribe — (br[imac]b), n. [F. bribe a lump of bread, scraps, leavings of meals (that are generally given to a beggar), LL. briba scrap of bread; cf. OF. briber, brifer, to eat gluttonously, to beg, and OHG. bilibi food.] 1. A gift begged; a present. [Obs.] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • bribe — BRIBE. s. f. Gros morceau de pain. Une bribe de pain. Il a mangé une bribe de pain bis. Il est populaire.Bribes, au pluriel, se dit par extension et familièrement, Des morceaux de viande que les valets serrent, ou que l on donne à ceux qui… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • bribe — [brīb] n. [ME < OFr, morsel of bread given to beggars < briber, to beg] 1. anything, esp. money, given or promised to induce a person to do something illegal or wrong 2. anything given or promised to induce a person to do something against… …   English World dictionary

  • bribe — bribe; bribe·able; …   English syllables

  • bribe — [n] payoff to influence illegal or wrong activity allurement, bait, blackmail, buyoff, compensation, contract, corrupting gift, corrupt money, enticement, envelope*, feedbag*, fringe benefit, gift, goody*, graft, gratuity, gravy*, grease*, hush… …   New thesaurus

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