What Does Bribe Someone Into Doing Something Mean?

Bribe Someone Into Doing Something Meaning

Definition: To pay someone to do something for you, usually illegally.

A bribe is a type of payment for illicit behaviors.

In a court of law, serious bribes are illegal. For example, bribing a police officer not to report you for a crime would involve paying the officer a sum of money in exchange for his silence. This is a serious crime.

Sometimes, though, bribing someone into doing something for you may involve something silly. For example, you may bribe your friend into singing a karaoke song on stage by paying him or her money to do it. This type of bribe is not illegal.

Origin of Bribe Someone Into Doing Something

how to bribe someoneThe verb to bribe has been used for hundreds of years. It comes from French, where it was used to describe a piece of bread given to a beggar. Over time, this has turned into a phrase meaning begging or being given money in exchange for something.

In English, the word bribe became related to stealing. Judges then began to use the word to describe people in authority who “stole” from their people by taking money in exchange for illicit behaviors and favors.

Examples of Bribe Someone Into Doing Something

what does bribe meanIf a rich criminal were to be caught stealing money, he might bribe an officer with some of his money, telling the officer to destroy evidence in exchange for a large payment.

In a similar way, a young girl may be caught coming home past her curfew by her brother. She may say, “Don’t tell mom and dad, and I’ll let you use my computer anytime you want!” She has bribed her brother into keeping her lateness a secret by offering him a privilege he wouldn’t otherwise have. She, too, has bought his silence.

More Examples

  • Rachael Harris also brings a lot of spirited warmth and completely believable adoration for her feuding sons, whom she tries to bribe into liking each other with “Mombucks.” –New York Post
  • She also figures he is just the guy to bribe into seducing beautiful factory worker Cruz away from her pouty, ineffectual son. –LA Times


To bribe someone into doing something is to pay them or offer privileges in exchange for an action.