What is the meaning of the expression ‘more grease to your elbow’? And is it considered proper English?
More grease to your elbow is an English idiom that is pretty informal and used more often in informal occasions than it is used in formal occasions.
Basically the expression is used when you want to praise the success someone is making and encourage them to continue working harder.
So if someone says to you, “more grease to your elbow”, they basically praise you and tell you to work harder in order to achieve more success.
The idiom came from the informal term and idiom “elbow grease”, which means the process of working hard – especially when one is doing manual labor. It is often used humorously.
Example: With some elbow grease the boys were able to clean the dirty compound within minutes.
From this idiom, the informal idiom “more grease to your elbow” was born. Although ‘more grease to your elbow’ originally was used to refer to mainly physical task or manual labor, these days it can refer to any other type of work – whether skilled or unskilled work. For example, if a student passes his examination and you want to encourage him to work harder in order to pass subsequent examinations, then you can say to him, “more grease to your elbow”.
Is “more grease to your elbow” the same as “more power to your elbow”?
The answer is yes! More grease to your elbow and more power to your elbow basically mean the same thing. The latter is considered formal whereas the former is informal.
You say “more power to your elbow” to someone when you want to praise them for an achievement and encourage them to continue to work harder in order to be more successful. This is very similar to the informal idiom, “more grease to your elbow”.
Son: Dad, I passed the examination.
Father: That’s wonderful news! More power to your elbow!
NOTE: “More power to your elbow” can also be shortened as “More power to you”