`buy someone off’

When a policeman stops us for a traffic violation, what is it that we normally do? We try to talk our way out of paying the fine. Sometimes we plead with the officer, at other times, we try to bribe him so that we don’t have to pay the full penalty. This act of bribing someone so that he turns a blind eye to the wrong that we have done is referred to as `buying someone off’.

The businessman succeeded in buying off some of the income tax officials.

Source: ‘Know Your English’ ( The Hindu) – June 26, 2006


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