Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Bribery of an influential person in exchange for the promotion of a product or service, such that of disc jockeys for the promotion of records.
  • n. A bribe or a number of bribes given to an influential person in exchange for a promotion of a product or service: "I do not mean to imply that most Wall Street analysts typically receive payola for touting particular stocks” ( Burton G. Malkiel).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A bribe given in exchange for a favor, such as one given in exchange for the promotion of goods or services (originally one given to a disk jockey to play a record).

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a bribe given to a disc jockey to induce him to promote a particular record

Etymologies

Probably pay(off) + -ola, suff.; see crapola.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Perhaps Blend of pay and Victrola. (Wiktionary)

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