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pork barrel

noun, Informal.
a government appropriation, bill, or policy that supplies funds for local improvements designed to ingratiate legislators with their constituents.
1905-10, Americanism
Related forms
pork-barrel, adjective
pork-barreling, adjective, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for pork barrel
  • Time for space exploration to take a back seat to pork barrel.
  • The logic should be lower taxes and zero pork barrel.
  • Right-wing critics sneer that this is a pork barrel for obscurantist, lefty pc historians, but they are wrong.
  • It is a plan that's been put together without earmarks or the usual pork barrel spending.
  • The line item veto proposal has long been championed as a device to reduce pork barrel spending.
  • Big government and pork barrel spending have fostered a lack of leadership and focus.
British Dictionary definitions for pork barrel

pork barrel

(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
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Slang definitions & phrases for pork barrel

pork barrel


Involving spending large amounts of money in an area that generates consumer popularity


A legislative appropriation designed to ingratiate legislators with their constituents (1909+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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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 Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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