• synonyms


[lawg-roh-ling, log-]
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  1. U.S. Politics. the exchange of support or favors, especially by legislators for mutual political gain as by voting for each other's bills.
  2. cronyism or mutual favoritism among writers, editors, or critics, as in the form of reciprocal flattering reviews; back scratching.
  3. the action of rolling a log or logs to a particular place.
  4. the action of rotating a log rapidly in the water by treading upon it, especially as a competitive sport; birling.
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Origin of logrolling

An Americanism dating back to 1785–95; log1 + rolling


[lawg-rohl, log-]U.S. Politics.
verb (used with object)
  1. to procure the passage of (a bill) by logrolling.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to engage in political logrolling.
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Origin of logroll

1825–35, Americanism; back formation from logrolling
Related formslog·roll·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for logrolling

Historical Examples

  • These appropriations are secured by what you call in America ‘logrolling.’

    The Land of the Kangaroo

    Thomas Wallace Knox

  • The state capital was moved to Springfield as a part of the give and take of logrolling.

British Dictionary definitions for logrolling


  1. US the practice of undemocratic agreements between politicians involving mutual favours, the trading of votes, etc
  2. another name for birlingSee birl 1
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  1. mainly US to use logrolling in order to procure the passage of (legislation)
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Derived Formslogroller, noun
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

Word Origin and History for logrolling


also log-rolling, in the legislative vote-trading sense, 1823, American English, from the notion of neighbors on the frontier helping one another with the heavy work of clearing land and building cabins (as in phrase you roll my log and I'll roll yours); see log (n.1) + rolling.

LOG-ROLLING. 1. In the lumber regions of Maine it is customary for men of different logging camps to appoint days for helping each other in rolling the logs to the river, after they are felled and trimmed -- this rolling being about the hardest work incident to the business. Thus the men of three or four camps will unite, say on Monday, to roll for camp No. 1, -- on Tuesday for camp No. 2, -- on Wednesday for camp No. 3, -- and so on, through the whole number of camps within convenient distance of each other. [Bartlett]
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

logrolling in Culture


In politics, advance agreement by legislators to vote for one another's bills. Logrolling is most common when legislators are trying to secure votes for bills that will benefit their home districts. For example, a group of congressmen from the Middle West pushing for higher dairy prices and a group of southern congressmen supporting higher tobacco prices might make a logrolling agreement in order to get both bills passed.

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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.