1 of 2


: money or favor given or promised in order to influence the judgment or conduct of a person in a position of trust
police officers accused of taking bribes
: something that serves to induce or influence
offered the kid a bribe to finish his homework


2 of 2


bribed; bribing

transitive verb

: to influence the judgment or conduct of (someone) with or as if with offers of money or favor : to induce or influence by or as if by bribery
attempting to bribe a judge
bribing a child with candy

intransitive verb

: to practice bribery
bribable adjective
bribee noun
briber noun

Examples of bribe in a Sentence

Noun I offered the children a bribe for finishing their homework. that judge refused a huge bribe to dismiss the charges against the wealthy defendant Verb She was arrested for attempting to bribe a judge. They bribed him to keep quiet about the incident. We bribed the children with candy.
Recent Examples on the Web
From the unsubstantiated premise that Biden has taken bribes, Trump goes on to allege foreign blackmail caused Biden to take certain actions. Isaac Arnsdorf, Anchorage Daily News, 8 Sep. 2023 Mario Herrera— were previously convicted by a federal jury on various counts of accepting bribes from Francis, a foreign defense contractor, and his company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, or GDMA. CBS News, 7 Sep. 2023 In the popular imagination, collaboration between cartels and state officials tends to take the form of corruption: criminals pay bribes to officials, who then tolerate drug trafficking in exchange for private wealth. Amanda Taub, New York Times, 6 Sep. 2023 The officers are accused of accepting bribes — swanky hotel stays, fine dining and in some cases the services of prostitutes — from Francis. Kristina Davis, San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Aug. 2023 Recruiters have been accused of taking bribes and aiding draft-age men trying to leave the country to avoid military service. John Bacon, USA TODAY, 18 Aug. 2023 Records indicate the pair took bribe money in 2018 from former ARCO dump operator George Michael Riley in exchange for filing false police reports that said vehicles stolen from Riley’s property had been found destroyed in Akron. Cory Shaffer, cleveland, 17 Aug. 2023 Many are forced to make a choice between a bribe or a bullet, Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Washington office of the Council of the Americas and the Americas Society, told CNN. Tara John, CNN, 11 Aug. 2023 Zelensky said recruiters face accusations including taking bribes, and helping to illegally transport people liable for military service across the border, though the details remain unclear. Sarah Dadouch, Washington Post, 11 Aug. 2023
House managers accuse Paul of bribing Paxton by hiring Olson at one of his companies so the attorney general could see her in Austin. Aarón Torres, Dallas News, 13 Sep. 2023 Two of the previous three presidents had gone to prison due to the scandal, as did some executives at Fiat Chrysler who had bribed them. Chris Isidore, CNN, 12 Sep. 2023 Prison guards are generally not well paid, and they are often bribed to assist in the smuggling or simply to look the other way. Charles Bethea, The New Yorker, 28 Aug. 2023 Photo: courtney crow handout/Shutterstock Colombian financial holding company Grupo Aval and its banking subsidiary have agreed to pay more than $80 million in fines to resolve investigations into a scheme to bribe Colombian government officials to win a highway construction contract. Dylan Tokar, WSJ, 11 Aug. 2023 Some try to bribe or charm their way out of enforcement. Curbed, 30 Aug. 2023 An extreme example of snowplow parenting is the college admissions scandal, where numerous high-profile celebrity parents were convicted of bribing colleges to admit their children. Lauren Pardee, Parents, 17 Aug. 2023 In a recorded interview that was played during trial, however, Harris told law enforcement officials last September that Peterson was the shooter and also echoed Pete’s allegation that Peterson tried to bribe them. James Queally, Los Angeles Times, 8 Aug. 2023 The owners bribed people with HIV to serve as pretend patients. Jessica Wapner, Scientific American, 15 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bribe.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun and Verb

Middle English, morsel given to a beggar, bribe, from Anglo-French, morsel

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1528, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of bribe was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near bribe

Cite this Entry

“Bribe.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: something given or promised to a person in order to influence a decision or action dishonestly


2 of 2 verb
bribed; bribing
: to influence or try to influence by a bribe
bribable adjective
briber noun

Legal Definition


1 of 2 noun
: 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


2 of 2 transitive verb
bribed; bribing
: to influence (a person) by giving a bribe

More from Merriam-Webster on bribe

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