Definition of grease in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɡriːs/


[mass noun]
1A thick oily substance, especially as 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.
informal lube
oil, ointment, lotion, cream
trademark Brylcreem
2Animal fat used or produced in cooking: the kitchen walls were black with grease and filth
More 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, butter, margarine, dripping


Pronunciation: /ɡriːs/
[with object]
Smear or lubricate with grease: grease a shallow baking dish (as adjective greased) 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 with grease/oil, make slippery, make smooth, make oily



grease the palm of

informal Bribe (someone): the branch is alleged to have greased the palms of 130 politicians
Grease expressing the sense 'cause to run smoothly' and palm, by association with the taking of money
More 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 wheels (or skids)

informal, chiefly North American Help matters run smoothly: he used 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.

like greased lightning

see lightning.
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

Line breaks: grease

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