Elbow grease

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Elbow grease is an idiom for working hard at manual labour. It is a figure of speech for humorously indicating nothing else but manual work is required.

It is sometimes reported in the form of a snipe hunt, a prank where an apprentice or recruit is sent on an errand to retrieve "elbow grease" by his supervisor.

  • The prank was used in the web series Red vs. Blue where two of the Red soldiers tell their new recruit to go fetch "Elbow grease and headlight fluid" from the store. Their prank backfires when the recruit instead asks for the enemy's flag from the enemy's recruit, mistaking the other base for the store.
  • GMC's advertisement for their heavy duty vans and trucks shows a few men failing to move a small boulder. Frustrated and defeated, at once a GMC van backs onto the scene with the surprise of the men upon discovering several large barrels of elbow grease in the rear of the van.

The practical joke consisting of sending someone for 'elbow grease' without explaining what it is, is commercialized by a company selling creams and lubricants falsely suggesting 'elbow grease' is the brand name while hiding any intended use. No description of what 'elbow grease' is is found on packaging or in its advertizing, while the creams are intended for sexual use. This however is explained only in the 'about us' section of the commercial site [1]

Although this page claims the company exists since 1979, "the height of the sexual revolution" there is no testimonial to be found on the 'testimonials' page.

See also[edit]