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smoke-filled room

[smohk-fild, -fild]
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noun
  1. a place, as a hotel room, for conducting secret negotiations, effecting compromises, devising strategy, etc.

Origin of smoke-filled room

First recorded in 1915–20
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
smoke-filled room in Culture

smoke-filled room

A popular expression used to describe a place where the political wheeling and dealing of machine bosses (see machine politics) is conducted. The image originated during the Republican presidential nominating convention of 1920, in which Warren G. Harding emerged as a dark horse candidate.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.