Definition of pork barrel in US English:

pork barrel

noun

informal
  • The use of government funds for projects designed to please voters or legislators and win votes.

    ‘political pork barrel for the benefit of their respective sponsors’
    as modifier ‘wasteful, pork-barrel spending’
    • ‘At the same time, support for the package was assured through a series of corrupt deals that earmarked billions of dollars in funding for pork-barrel projects for legislators' home districts.’
    • ‘A pork barrel project meant to revive the American cruise industry sinks under its own weight.’
    • ‘The bill he sponsored is considered a pork-barrel project because of the huge sum required to put it into effect.’
    • ‘We waste billions of dollars in defense just on pork barrel spending and earmarked projects that have nothing to do with defense, and that's one of the ways we could find some of the money.’
    • ‘End pork-barrel spending and construction companies throughout the country will go belly-up.’
    • ‘That may sound like a recipe for pork-barrel projects and runaway spending.’
    • ‘Most Americans hate Congress and Washington because they hate paying the taxes that give government money to spend on entitlements and pork-barrel legislation.’
    • ‘And the pork barrel got even larger as other special interests and lobbyists jumped on board.’
    • ‘This pork barrel was added secretly and late in the legislative process, without the knowledge of many members of the House.’
    • ‘Congress pork-barrel spends and earmarks all of this money while we have enlisted families on food stamps.’
    • ‘This will also prevent opposition lawmakers from burdening financial bills with their favorite pork-barrel projects and blackmailing the ruling party.’
    • ‘Congress is going to vote on whether or not to stop distributing its money to states and local governments on a pure pork barrel basis and start doing it on the basis of risk.’
    • ‘We have pork barrel projects that our opponent supported and scandals where he didn't take a position.’
    • ‘But analysts say that retreat should not harm the prime minister's reformist bona fides as long as he does not devote extra funds to pork-barrel projects.’
    • ‘It is because this Government is not happy with its pork-barrel politics when it comes to just the roads.’
    • ‘And if he couldn't beat the pork barrel spending that plagued his agency - at least he can join in on it.’
    • ‘Yet it will be hard to please congressmen while cutting their pork barrel, and as usual, no one seems very eager to cut middle-class entitlement programs.’
    • ‘The administration offered the nation economic self-interest, technical wonkery, and a smidgen from the pork barrel.’
    • ‘They are also supportive of patronage-laden political systems and pork-barrel projects, which is the reason Fenton calls them jobs-oriented.’
    • ‘We do not have to appease the pork barrel needs of legislators.’

Origin

Early 20th century: from the use of a barrel to keep a reserve supply of meat.

Pronunciation

pork barrel

/ˈpôrk ˌberəl//ˈpɔrk ˌbɛrəl/