Definition of grease in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɡrēs/
1Oily or fatty matter, in particular.
Example sentences
  • Whoever had repainted it had not, however, troubled to first remove the grease.
  • He wiped the grease from his mouth with the back of his hand.
  • Had she really meant to escape him, or had she seen the grease on the pizza boxes threatening to congeal on the low table and reacted with a mind only to clean?
1.1A thick oily substance used as a lubricant: axle grease
More example sentences
  • Someone else stated it had the colour and consistency of axle grease!
  • Axle grease also freezes and is warmed with a blowtorch.
  • The valley of rocks still bears the marks of early pioneers who wrote their names with axle grease on the rocks.
gel, lotion, cream
dated brilliantine
trademark Brylcreem
1.2Oil or fat used or produced in cooking.
Example sentences
  • The bottles of hot sauce, and salt and pepper seemed to be permanently glazed with years of grease from all the cooking.
  • I breathe in the cool air, taste tangs of cooking oil and fried grease.
  • Finally, the committee said that food vendors should place a rubber mat under their booths to protect the area from oil and cooking grease.
fat, oil, cooking oil, animal fat;
lard, suet


Pronunciation: /ɡrēs/
Pronunciation: /ɡrēz/
[with object]
Smear or lubricate with grease: (as adjective greased) place on a greased baking sheet
More example sentences
  • Place on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake in a moderately hot oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Mix oats in, spread onto a lightly greased glass baking dish, and refrigerate.
  • These would have gone into the oven on baking trays that were greased with butter wrappers, which were kept for ever.
lubricate, oil, smear/coat/spray with oil, butter



grease the palm of

informal Bribe (someone).
Example sentences
  • Whether applying for a driving licence, bringing a case to court or simply passing a police checkpoint, greasing the palm of pliant government officials is often the only way to get things done in the country.
  • At the behest of his friend, the son goes to the neighbouring town to earn enough money to grease the palm of the panchayat president.
  • And you probably think that you can grease the palm of the loan officer to enhance your loan eligibility.

grease the skids

informal, chiefly North American Help matters run smoothly: his mission was to use his budgetary skills to grease the skids for new projects
More example sentences
  • The industry also liberally greases the skids of the legislative process with huge campaign donations, topping $26 million in the last election cycle.
  • Students hunt after internships because they often grease the skids for graduation, making it much easier to find a job once the student loans come due.
  • First, grease the skids with campaign contributions to key lawmakers.

grease (or British oil) the wheels

Help something go smoothly: the money is inadequate to grease the wheels of recovery
More example sentences
  • Good communication is the oil that greases the wheels of a great marriage.
  • Societies rich in social capital function better than others; their governments do more and do it efficiently even as trust greases the wheels of commerce.
  • Although Australian consumers may have greased the wheels of economic growth in recent years, there are now signs that consumer confidence is waning.

like greased lightning

see lightning. informal Extremely fast.
Example sentences
  • Another gig of memory will make it run like greased lightning.
  • Get it on the highway, and it moves like greased lightning.
  • It glides like greased lightning, making ironing fast and easy.



Example sentences
  • The pastry was substantial, flaky and greaseless - a tough combination to pull off.
  • The frying of tempura, too, is exquisite, lightness itself: the thin brittle batter is greaseless and things like rock shrimps, courgettes and tomatoes are lovely.
  • To absorb excess oil, sprinkle a bit of talc on a brush and work it through the hair from scalp to ends to produce a fresh, greaseless finish.


Middle English: from Old French graisse, based on Latin crassus 'thick, fat'.

  • The ultimate source of grease is Latin crassus ‘thick or fat’, and in medieval English the word meant ‘the fat part of the body of an animal’ and ‘fatness’. To grease someone's palm, a phrase that dates from the early 16th century, is to bribe them. The metaphor comes from the idea of applying grease to a machine to make it run smoothly. The idea behind like greased lightning, ‘very quickly’, is that lightning, the fastest thing imaginable, would presumably be even faster if greased. See also glib

Words that rhyme with grease

anis, apiece, Berenice, caprice, cassis, cease, coulisse, crease, Dumfries, fils, fleece, geese, Greece, kris, lease, Lucrece, MacNeice, Matisse, McAleese, Nice, niece, obese, peace, pelisse, police, Rees, Rhys, set piece, sublease, surcease, two-piece, underlease

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: grease

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