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grease +‎ -er. Applied to mechanics because they frequently become greasy during the course of their work. Applied to toughs because they frequently greased their hair, and, like greaseball, to Italians for the same reason. Applied to Mexicans because, at the time the phrase originated, they commonly worked greasing the axles of carts.



greaser (plural greasers)

  1. Someone or something that greases (applies grease).
    • 1942, Emily Carr, The Book of Small, “Regatta,” [1]
      The pole was greased and men tried to walk out to the end of it and dislodge the crate. The pole was supple, the crate swayed as each man crept out clinging desperately and finally fell off into the sea. [] People roared with laughter and greasers applied fresh grease for the next person's try.
  2. (slang) A mechanic.
  3. (slang) A biker, a tough.
  4. (US, offensive, ethnic slur) A Latin American, especially a Mexican.
  5. (US, offensive, ethnic slur) An Italian.

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