Definition of backscratching in US English:



  • The mutual providing of favors or services, especially when the legitimacy of such dealings is doubtful.

    ‘the friendship thrives on little more than mutual backscratching’
    • ‘While I'm sure they have better things to do with their private plane than ferry around their useless offspring and friends, the tales remind me of a bit of backscratching just before the election in 2000.’
    • ‘All in all, it makes me wonder what the organization is getting in return from their government backscratching - other than the short end of the stick.’
    • ‘Or maybe it's just another case of sordid backscratching among the powerful elite at the UN.’
    • ‘Overlooked in all this international backscratching is a country with a longer Sino track record and perhaps a, if less visible, more dignified national character.’
    • ‘They're not only using these books to fill space and time that might be used to better purpose, but they're also engaging in corporate backscratching.’
    • ‘This is a real problem, albeit not one of recent vintage; mutual backscratching is especially endemic in academic book reviews.’
    • ‘It seems that the country cannot continue the backscratching among businessmen, bureaucrats and politicians that has done so much to prolong the nation's decade-old economic malaise.’
    • ‘The mutual backscratching between ‘the gang’ and ‘the law’ led me to look at ‘the law’ as operating very similarly to a gang.’
    • ‘Of course, business is all about mutual backscratching, nothing wrong with that, but if I am right, I want to be a part of that network.’
    • ‘I hope, however, that they are equally keen on maintaining the age-old tradition of literary backscratching.’
    • ‘As a comprehensive report on media lobbying by the Center for Public Integrity demonstrates, when it comes to mutual backscratching, the primates in the National Zoo have nothing over the networks and Congress.’
    corruption, bribery, bribing, dishonesty, deceit, fraud, fraudulence, subornation, unlawful practices, illegal means, underhand means
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