The squeaky wheel gets the grease is a proverb. A proverb is a short, common saying or phrase. These common sayings are language tools that particularly give advice or share a universal truth, or impart wisdom. Synonyms for proverb include adage, aphorism, sayings, and byword, which can also be someone or something that is the best example of a group. Often, a proverb is so familiar that a speaker will only quote half of it, relying on the listener to supply the ending of the written or spoken proverb himself. Speakers of English as a second language are sometimes confused by these pithy sayings as translations from English to other languages do not carry the impact that the English phrases carry. Some common proverbs are the wise sayings better late than never, early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, haste makes waste, blood is thicker than water, and a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. One of the books of the Bible is the Book of Proverbs, which contains words and phrases that are still often quoted in the English language because they are wise. Many current proverbs are quotations taken from literature, particularly Shakespeare, as well as the Bible and other sacred writings. We will examine the meaning of the expression the squeaky wheel gets the grease, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.
The squeaky wheel gets the grease means the person who complains the loudest about a problem receives help first. The person who complains does not necessarily need the most help, but a complainer usually is served first to appease him. The expression the squeaky wheel gets the grease came into use in the United States sometime in the 1800s. The first known use of the expression the squeaky wheel gets the grease in print is found in Josh Billings’ poem, The Kicker, published in 1870: “But the wheel that squeaks the loudest, Is the one that gets the grease.”
The general rule in situations like this is that “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” (Travel Market Report)
The old saying that the squeaky wheel gets the grease has never been more true than when it comes to customer service. (Forbes Magazine)
The saying, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” reflects a fundamental truth of the ability of every member of our society to engage in the political process. (The Salina Post)
Indeed, in the West, it seems that “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” more so than in parts of Asia, where “the nail that stands out gets pounded down.” (Psychology Today)