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meaning to pass off a less than perfect item, either physical or metaphorical, as though it were good.
Example 1: I asked a friend to loan me a lighter but he palmed me a dead one. (Meaning the lighter didn’t work)

Its origin are uncertain but date back to at least the Childers Muster (Rodeo) of 1997 where it is attributed to Truckin' Trev.

The phrase has been bastardized to be used in circumstances with similar meanings to the original.

Example 2: My housemate said her friend would show me a good time but it turned out she was trying to palm me a dead one. (In this case it means the opposite of a “live one”, that is, the friend was boring or dull or frigid)

Example 3: The salesman said the DVD would play on all players but he had palmed me a dead one. (meaning that the DVD wouldn’t play or was blank)

Example 4: I asked my roommate to get me some milk for my coffee but she palmed me a dead one. (Meaning the carton/bottle was empty or out of date)

The phrase is not to be mistaken for any similar phrases use in the United States relating to slipping someone a bribe. That is palming someone a “dead president”, referring to the faces of dead presidents on the notes.

Whether it be bulbs, pipes, lighters, DVDs, food etc friends don’t palm friends dead ones. Ever!
by DocSparkle April 17, 2009
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