https://thehill.com/hilltv/rising/4655205-rising-may-10-2024/ says

Speaker Johnson does Trump’s bidding on illegal voting.

What does "bid" mean here?

What does "do someone's bidding on" mean?

"bid" is often used with "for". I guess "on" here can't be replaced with "for", correct? How about "against"?

  • 1
    Bid means 'order, command'. It's not the same as 'making a bid for' something (offering a sum of money in an auction, or trying to do something)/. Commented May 12 at 8:22
  • Just to be clear, a person can let it be known that they want something to happen or be done. The "bidding" (ordering) does not have to be a direct command.
    – TimR
    Commented May 12 at 11:04

1 Answer 1


To 'do someones' bidding' is a formal, and slightly (not very) old-fashioned expression meaning to obey instructions or requests actually given by that person, and it is often used in situations where contempt for, or disapproval of, excessive or shameful obedience is meant.

The following dictionary entry concentrates on that aspect. To do someone's bidding is always to obey their orders or instructions. Whether that obedience is slavish, undignified, shameful, embarrassing, fawning, cowardly, etc, is dependent on opinion and context.

Do somebody's bidding PHRASE

If you say that someone does another person's bidding, you disapprove of the fact that they do exactly what the other person asks them to do, even when they do not want to.

[formal, disapproval]

She is very clever at getting people to do her bidding!

Do Someone's Bidding (Collins Dictionary)

Other dictionary entries may ignore the negative meaning, or just hint at it...:

do someone's bidding, to submit to someone's orders; perform services for someone:

After he was promoted to vice president at the bank, he expected everyone around him to do his bidding.

Bidding (Dictionary.com)

  • Not sure, but my instinct is that bidding does not necessarily imply disapproval. Commented May 12 at 11:46
  • @PeterKirkpatrick - that's why I wrote 'is often used in situations...'. I shall edit my answer to make it clearer that the expression is ofte, but not always, used disapprovingly. Commented May 12 at 12:30
  • @PeterKirkpatrick - doing someone's bidding is never dignified. Commented May 12 at 12:40
  • Thanks. Does "on" in "do one's bidding on something" mean "for" or "against"?
    – Tim
    Commented May 12 at 13:15
  • 1
    @PeterKirkpatrick - my point is that it can be used neutrally, but often is not. Commented May 13 at 20:44

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