Definition of greasy pole in English:

greasy pole

noun

informal
  • 1A pole covered with grease to make it more difficult to climb or walk along, used especially as a form of entertainment.

    • ‘Dressed in coloured T-shirts and shorts, teams of firemen, hairdressers, bank clerks and builders would wobble across plastic stepping stones, slide down greasy poles and dodge jets of water from strategically-placed hoses.’
    • ‘It is then on to land games of pool, dominoes, small goal football and greasy pole.’
    • ‘There was sailing throughout the morning, with water sports in the afternoon, including the best dressed boat, rowing races, assault boat and walking the greasy pole.’
    • ‘There was also the greasy pole competition, with men trying to push each other off a greased pole stretching across the swimming pool.’
    • ‘The greasy pole and pillow fighting contests provided great fun and frolics, while the raft and punt races were the big attraction on the day.’
    • ‘The children played various games, much to the relief and amusement of the adults, including tug-of-war, musical chairs for the younger children, sack racing and lots more, including the greasy pole.’
    1. 1.1 Used to refer to the difficult route to the top of a profession.
      ‘he steadily climbed the greasy pole towards the job he coveted most’
      • ‘In this he depressingly mimics too many climbers of the corporate greasy pole.’
      • ‘Gordon admits he had a hand climbing the greasy pole - his company is a family business.’
      • ‘And the higher you've climbed up the greasy pole, by fair means or foul, the further you have to fall.’
      • ‘He remained a Daily Telegraph columnist and Spectator editor as he started to climb the greasy pole at Westminster.’
      • ‘It is a remarkably honest, modest assessment, which inevitably stirs suspicions that the speaker will not make it much further up the greasy pole.’
      • ‘It seems that he will work with anyone in an attempt to shin his way up the greasy pole.’
      • ‘Far from it - he made his way up the greasy pole of power and fought constantly to stay at the top.’
      • ‘In the top job, he was isolated from the people with whom he had climbed the greasy pole.’
      • ‘They put tremendous energy into climbing the greasy pole but it turned out to be an end in itself, not the means to changing the country.’
      • ‘Hereditary rulers are even freer because they do not have to consider how to help their offspring up the greasy pole.’
      • ‘If these three MPs had any integrity they would oppose the Government, but of course climbing up the greasy pole to self-aggrandisement is more important than natural justice.’
      • ‘He climbed the greasy pole of British politics with a mixture of stealth and sincerity.’
      • ‘Having climbed the greasy pole the last thing he intended was to slide back down it with nothing to show for his labours.’
      • ‘The most crude method is to look at how far a politician has climbed up the greasy pole marked promotion.’
      • ‘Now he seems to me like so many captains of industry who've slithered right up the greasy pole on the backs of more talented and hard-working people.’
      • ‘It'll just be a formality on your relentless climb up the greasy pole…’
      • ‘It is not all gloom and doom if you fail to climb the greasy pole.’
      • ‘He was unhappily married, bored with parish duties and ill-equipped to climb the ecclesiastical greasy pole, but his talents were finally being recognised.’
      • ‘When arrived at success, Beethoven deplored aristocratic patronage; while climbing the greasy pole he sought it out.’
      • ‘They are not doing the job for money, or to climb the greasy pole.’