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pork barrel

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noun Informal.
  1. a government appropriation, bill, or policy that supplies funds for local improvements designed to ingratiate legislators with their constituents.

Origin of pork barrel

An Americanism dating back to 1905–10
Related formspork-bar·rel, adjectivepork-bar·rel·ing, adjective, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pork barrel

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Only once did he fling out and bestow an unmerited blow on the pork-barrel.

  • So it was that my wife said: "Felix, you will have to go to the pork-barrel."

    If, Yes and Perhaps

    Edward Everett Hale

  • The Deacon stared, but said he had taken it from his pork-barrel.

    If, Yes and Perhaps

    Edward Everett Hale

  • I needed the money, and I put my hook into the pork-barrel,—that is, I trusted the Public.

    If, Yes and Perhaps

    Edward Everett Hale

  • You could see his ribs as plainly as the hoops on a pork-barrel.

    Horses Nine

    Sewell Ford


British Dictionary definitions for pork barrel

pork barrel

noun
  1. slang, mainly US
    1. a bill or project requiring considerable government spending in a locality to the benefit of the legislator's constituents
    2. (as modifier)pork-barrel spending

Word Origin

C20: term originally applied to the Federal treasury considered as a source of lucrative grants
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Idioms and Phrases with pork barrel

pork barrel

Government funding of something that benefits a particular district, whose legislator thereby wins favor with local voters. For example, Our senator knows the value of the pork barrel. This expression alludes to the fatness of pork, equated with political largesse since the mid-1800s. [c. 1900]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.