AskDefine | Define logrolling

Dictionary Definition



1 act of exchanging favors for mutual gain; especially trading of influence or votes among legislators to gain passage of certain projects
2 rotating a log rapidly in the water (as a competitive sport) [syn: birling]

User Contributed Dictionary



log + rolling, from the practice of neighbors helping each other roll logs to build a community fire.


  1. The rolling of logs.
  2. A concerted effort to push forward mutually advantageous legislative agendas.
  3. Mutual recommendation of friends' or colleagues' services or products. Commonly used in the context of book recommendations in literary reviews etc.

Extensive Definition

Logrolling is a colorful phrase that refers to trading favors, a synonym to quid pro quo.
For example, it may describe vote trading by legislative members to obtain passage of actions of interest to each legislative member.
The term is also used for similar activities in academics, notably the "cross quoting" of papers in order to drive up reference counts.
The Nuttall Encyclopedia describes as "mutual praise by authors of each other's work."
A suggested origin is the old custom of neighbors assisting each other with the moving of logs. If two neighbors had cut a lot of timber which needed to be moved, it made more sense for them to work together to roll the logs—"If you'll help me roll my logs, I'll help you roll yours."
Another derivation is from the sport by the same name in which two contestants try to topple each other into the water by standing on a log. Each must keep up with the other or risk taking a spill, so it appears to be cooperative.
Spy Magazine ran a feature entitled "Logrolling in Our Time" that cited suspicious or humorous examples of mutually admiring book jacket blurbs by pairs of authors.
Private Eye magazine regularly draws attention to alleged logrolling by authors in "books of the year" features published by British newspapers and magazines.

See Also


logrolling in Japanese: ログローリング

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

backscratching, barter, cloture, committee consideration, debate, deliberation, division, even trade, filibuster, filibustering, filing, first reading, influence peddling, introduction, lobbying, lobbyism, political influence, pork barrel, public opinion, roll call, second reading, social pressure, special-interest pressure, steamroller methods, swap, swapping, switch, tabling, talkathon, third reading, trade, trading, vote, wire-pulling
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