Companies seeking to stay on the right side of corruption laws should pay attention to language.
Like many business transactions, corruption has its own language. Bribery hides behind innuendo and code, and when corrupt practices cross borders, multiple jargons and dialects add layers of confusion. Non-native speakers may get entangled in the web of subtext, and commit crimes without even knowing it. (For more about the language of bribery, see “A Bribe By Any Other Name”).
Here’s a list of some of the terminology used around the world.
Country/Language
Bribery Jargon
Argentina
cohecho; soborno; coima; cometa
Angola
gaseoso
Brazil
propina; jetto; jetinho; caixinha; graxa; troco; nota; acerto
Bulgaria
rusvet
Cambodia
tea money
China
huilu; chaqian
Croatia
mitto; podmititi (v.)
East Africa
chai
Egypt
baksheesh; shay
France
pot-de-vin; arroser (v.); graisser (v.)
Gambia
maslaha
Germany
shmiergeld
Greece
bakssissi
Hausa (spoken in West Africa)
toshiyar-baki
Honduras
pajada
Hong Kong
hactzien
Hungary
megvesztegetes; kezet fogni (v.); keno penz; csuszo penz; lekenyerezni; lefizetni
India
rishwat; baksheesh; ghoos; hafta; chai-pani
Indonesia
suap; pungli; uang sogok
Iran
roshveh
Italy
tangento; omaggi; spintarella; bustarella
Japan
on; wairo; kuroi kiri
Kiswahili (spoken in East Africa and the DRC)
kutu-kidogo
Malaysia
suap; duit kopi
Mexico
soborno; mordida; refresco; gratificaci—n; dinero por debajo de la mesa
Mozambique
gaseoso
Nigeria
kola; egunje; dash
Pakistan
rishvat
Peru
coima
Phillipines
lagay; kotong; suhol;
Romania
rasplata
Russia
vzyatka; otkat; dat’ na lapu (v.)
Serbia
mitto; podmititi (v.)
South Korea
noemul; gum eun don; dŸ don; chonji
Southeast Asia
kumshaw
Spain
untar (v.); soborno
Sweden
muta
Syria
rashwah; finjaan Ôahwa
Thailand
sin bone; tea money
Turkey
rusvet
Ukraine
habar; oplata
USA
bribe; kickback, payola; sweetener; backhander; hush money; grease; wet my beak
Zaire
tarif de verre

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Bribery Slang Around The World

Companies seeking to stay on the right side of corruption laws should pay attention to language.
Like many business transactions, corruption has its own language. Bribery hides behind innuendo and code, and when corrupt practices cross borders, multiple jargons and dialects add layers of confusion. Non-native speakers may get entangled in the web of subtext, and commit crimes without even knowing it. (For more about the language of bribery, see “A Bribe By Any Other Name”).
Here’s a list of some of the terminology used around the world.
Country/Language
Bribery Jargon
Argentina
cohecho; soborno; coima; cometa
Angola
gaseoso
Brazil
propina; jetto; jetinho; caixinha; graxa; troco; nota; acerto
Bulgaria
rusvet
Cambodia
tea money
China
huilu; chaqian
Croatia
mitto; podmititi (v.)
East Africa
chai
Egypt
baksheesh; shay
France
pot-de-vin; arroser (v.); graisser (v.)
Gambia
maslaha
Germany
shmiergeld
Greece
bakssissi
Hausa (spoken in West Africa)
toshiyar-baki
Honduras
pajada
Hong Kong
hactzien
Hungary
megvesztegetes; kezet fogni (v.); keno penz; csuszo penz; lekenyerezni; lefizetni
India
rishwat; baksheesh; ghoos; hafta; chai-pani
Indonesia
suap; pungli; uang sogok
Iran
roshveh
Italy
tangento; omaggi; spintarella; bustarella
Japan
on; wairo; kuroi kiri
Kiswahili (spoken in East Africa and the DRC)
kutu-kidogo
Malaysia
suap; duit kopi
Mexico
soborno; mordida; refresco; gratificaci—n; dinero por debajo de la mesa
Mozambique
gaseoso
Nigeria
kola; egunje; dash
Pakistan
rishvat
Peru
coima
Phillipines
lagay; kotong; suhol;
Romania
rasplata
Russia
vzyatka; otkat; dat’ na lapu (v.)
Serbia
mitto; podmititi (v.)
South Korea
noemul; gum eun don; dŸ don; chonji
Southeast Asia
kumshaw
Spain
untar (v.); soborno
Sweden
muta
Syria
rashwah; finjaan Ôahwa
Thailand
sin bone; tea money
Turkey
rusvet
Ukraine
habar; oplata
USA
bribe; kickback, payola; sweetener; backhander; hush money; grease; wet my beak
Zaire
tarif de verre

Read the article on Forbes

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