#111 – TO PALM OFF

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This means to get rid of something that you don’t want any more by giving it to someone else, while being dishonest about it. E.g. “I can’t believe they palmed off that broken Nintendo on me!” (They sold me the Nintendo, giving me the impression that it was a bargain and a good thing to buy, but they were just trying to get rid of it because it was broken).

Hello everyone. My name’s Luke Thompson. You’re listening to “A Phrasal Verb a Day”. In these series of podcasts I teach you a phrasal verb in every little episode and if you’re dedicated you could listen to one every day and then hopefully, by the end of… well, by the end of the time you’ve listened to them all you’ll have learned a phrasal verb every day! That’s the concept. That’s the idea. This is phrasal verb episode number 111 and in this one I’m going to teach you the phrase to PALM OFF. PALM OFF.

Palm like the palm of your hand which is the underside of your hand. The hand…the side that you use when you hold something. That side of your hand is called the palm of your hand, compared to the back of your hand. Okay? Usually the palm of your hand is a bit softer, a bit more sensitive. The back of your hand is a bit darker because the sun tends to touch the back of your hand a bit more. Anyway. The palm of your hand is spelt P A L M and it’s pronounced palm. And we’re looking at the phrase to PALM OFF or to PALM something OFF ON someone. Okay? It means to give something to someone but you do it in a sort of dishonest way. So, to give something to someone in a fairly dishonest way. So, you maybe give something to someone as a gift or you manage to give something to someone while convincing them that it’s something else. Okay? So, giving something to someone that you probably don’t want and you kind of lie or maybe you’re not completely honest about why you’re giving it and it’s just a chance for you to get rid of it because you don’t want it anymore.

So, okay. I’ll give you an example. Last year in the summer there was a little market just in the square near where I live and in the city where I live, in the little area where I live, every summer they have like a little market where all the neighbours get together and they put tables out and they sell things to each other. Okay? It’s very nice, pleasant event. You can get to meet your local neighbours and you might be out to pick up a nice bargain. So, I’d been walking around, didn’t see anything I liked but it was a pleasant afternoon. I was just walking home when down in the street I saw this couple, this kind of fairly young couple, same age, similar age as me and they’re holding in their hand a box and it was a Nintendo Wii. You know the Nintendo games console, the Nintendo Wii. So, they had this Nintendo Wii and they came up to me and they were like “Oh! Excuse me. Excuse me. Do you want to buy a Nintendo Wii? We…Yes, we’re selling this Wii. We don’t really use it anymore. So, we thought we’d sell it.” And I was like “Yeah, why not? How much?” And they said “Oh, twenty Euros?” I thought ‘twenty Euros for a Nintendo Wii’ and they said “Yes, just a twenty Euros and it comes with these games and this Wii Fit device. So, the whole thing just twenty Euros.” I thought ‘Oh, that’s brilliant. That’s a bargain’ and I said “Okay, great! I’ll take it”. So, I bought it and I felt really pleased with myself because I got this Nintendo Wii. I brought it home and of course I plugged it in, tried it. It didn’t work! It was broken! They sold me a broken Nintendo Wii. So, clearly they just wanted to get rid of this Nintendo that they couldn’t use anymore because it was broken. And they just PALMED it OFF on me, convincing me that it’s…, you know, it was a fairly good one. They didn’t tell me that it was broken. I wouldn’t have bought it otherwise. So, it’s just a chance for them to get rid of it. They also made twenty euros in the process while also convincing me that it was a good thing to buy. So, they just PALMED it OFF on me. Okay? There you go. That’s the expression I am teaching you today. To PALM something OFF ON someone.

If we have a quick look at Google and look at some news reports that contain the expression PALMED OFF. I’m saying PALMED OFF in the past in this case. We see a review of the movie Poltergeist. Do you know the movie Poltergeist? This is a kind of scary, scary horror movie. I think it’s been re-released. Originally it came out in the 1980’s. It was I think produced by Steven Spielberg. But it’s been re-released and here’s a… Here’s something from the Irish Independent and apparently this report contains the expression PALMED OFF. I’m just opening it now on my computer and we’re going to be… I’m going to be able to read it to you. So, let’s search for the expression PALMED OFF, P A L M E D. There we go. So, this is a story about a family who buy a house and the estate agent sells them the house selling it to them as if it is a great purchase. And the family go in. They’ve believed the estate agent. They buy the house but they don’t realise that the house was built on an ancient graveyard, an old graveyard, you know? A graveyard is where people were buried when they died. And as a result of the house being built on the graveyard the house get haunted by horrible ghosts and things. It’s a good… The original is a great movie. Here’s the line from this report. It says: “Little do the Bowens know (which means that the Bowens didn’t know or they don’t know) just what a… just what a dud their real estate agent has PALMED OFF on them”. So, little do they know that the real estate (agent) has PALMED OFF a haunted house on them. “The house is built on an old graveyard (the headstones got moved down the road, yet the bodies did not)”. So, so, there you go. This is a story of people who… The estate agent PALMED OFF a haunted house on them, selling it to them as if it was a great property while not mentioning that it was haunted by horrible spirits and ghosts and things. Okay. There you go.

Has anyone ever PALMED something OFF ON you? How did they PALM it OFF ON you? And have you ever PALMED something OFF ON someone? Would you…? If you… I mean, now I’ve got this Nintendo Wii that doesn’t work. What am I going to do with it? What do you think, ladies and gents? Should I PALM it OFF ON someone else? Maybe at the market this year I’ll go down there with my Nintendo and I’ll sell it. I’ll just PALM it OFF ON someone else and the Nintendo will just keep getting PALMED OFF or keep being PALMED OFF ON people until, I don’t know, eventually one person fixes it. Maybe that would be the right answer. Okay. So, let me know. Answer that question be a good way to practise your English. That’s it for this episode. Speak to you soon. But for now… Goodbye.

  • Andrzej

    Transcript pre-proofread. Now I’m thinking who I shall palm it off on.

    • Hehe. You can palm it off on me.

      • Andrzej

        So be it. 1000 pounds then or equivalent in sweet wrappers.

      • That’s a lot of sweet wrappers

      • Andrzej

        OK. Let’s meet half way but they all have to be red ones. No further concessions! That’s my final offer.

      • Orange?

      • Andrzej

        Provided they’re all discarded

  • Zdim

    Tv I have does not serve its purpose any more due to repeatedly freezing. I consider I’m gonna palm it off on the first guy that springs to my mind as an appropriate one.

    • Good luck with that.
      By the way, I still have that Nintendo Wii. Hoping to palm it off on someone.