cross someone's palm

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English[edit]

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Verb[edit]

cross someone's palm

  1. (idiomatic) To give money to a person, especially as a bribe or as an inducement to perform a service.
    • 1910, "Pay to See Barney Statue: Hindu Butler Reaping a Harvest from Washington's Curious Folk," New York Times, 12 Oct., p. 1 (retrieved 8 Apr. 2009):
      For all who cross his palm with silver he condescends to lift the drapery that hides the reclining figure, and the larger the coin the longer the look.
    • 1915, G. Harvey Ralphson, Boy Scouts in Southern Waters, ch. 28:
      "I'd go into a trance and see if I could locate my chum." "You don't have to do that," declared Arnold. "Just cross my palm with a piece of silver and I'll locate him for you."
    • 2004, A. C. Snow, "Wasted lives beckon us to look," News & Observer (USA), 9 May (retrieved 8 Apr. 2009):
      After crossing his palm with a donation, I felt entitled at least to ask where he was from.

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