Macquarie Dictionary Blog: Archives
May 15, 2014
The story of the slush fund begins with the navy of the early 1800s where the sailors ate boiled meat. As the salted meat was cooked the fat collected on the top of the liquid and was strained off. This rejected fat was called ‘slush’ and was kept so that it could be sold to people looking for lard for their cooking or fuel for their oil lamps. The money received from the sale of the slush was kept as a slush fund to provide for some little extra luxuries for the sailors.
By the 1870s in America this name had transferred to a fund kept to top up the salaries of government employees. By the 1890s it had become the name for a fund used to win political allegiances and to facilitate campaigns.
There is a suggestion that in future we will be discussing the use of a slush fund to `grange' someone in power. Who knows.
(Image courtesy of www.smh.com.au)
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