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Two lumberjacks engaging in logrolling (sense 1.2) in the Pine River during Scheer’s Lumberjack Show in Minnesota, USA


log +‎ rolling, the figurative senses from the practice of neighbors helping each other do heavy work such as rolling logs in connection with clearing land and building.



logrolling (countable and uncountable, plural logrollings)

  1. (countable, US) The rolling of logs from one place to another; an occasion when people meet to help each other roll logs.
    • 1940 February, W. A. Davis; E. F. Goldston, “Agricultural History and Statistics”, in Soil Survey of Stokes County, North Carolina (Series 1934; no. 20), Washington, D.C.: United States Department of Agriculture, OCLC 493575762, pages 6–7:
      As most of the county was covered with forest, it was necessary to clear the land of trees, in order to make way for farming operations. Clearing of the land was accomplished by means of logrollings, a practice whereby logs were heaped into great piles and burned. Much valuable timber was destroyed in that manner, but, as no markets existed for timber, it was the most expedient method of ridding the land of trees. Logrollings continued until probably 50 years ago, when markets for forest products arose and timber began to be sawed and sold.
    • 1983, Steven Hahn, “Bounds of Custom”, in The Roots of Southern Populism: Yeoman Farmers and the Transformation of the Georgia Upcountry, 1850–1890, New York, N.Y.; Oxford: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 54:
      Logrollings, for example, which occurred during the winter and early spring, took place in a series until the logs on every neighbor's farm were piled. So with many other chores, for cooperative patterns of work form an integral part of productive organization.
    1. (uncountable, US, lumberjacking) The act of balancing on a log floating on a river to guide it downstream, often involving rolling it using one's feet; birling.
    2. (uncountable, US, sports) A sport in which two people balance on a log floating in a body of water, each one aiming to cause the opponent to fall off by rolling or kicking the log.
      • 2011, Lew Freedman, “Preface”, in Timber!: The Story of the Lumberjack World Championships, Madison, Wis.: Terrace Books, University of Wisconsin Press, →ISBN, page xv:
        Harkening back to the days when loggers had to break river jams free by carefully stepping out on floating logs, logrolling is all about maintaining balance. Also called birling, logrolling requires competitors to go head-to-head on a single log, trying to toss the other guy into the water by forcing him to lose his balance.
  2. (uncountable, US politics, figuratively) A concerted effort to push forward mutually advantageous legislative agendas by combining two items, either or both of which might fail on its own, into a single bill that is more likely to pass.
    • 1873 October 22, “Railway Construction Bill”, in Victoria. Parliamentary Debates. Session 1873. Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly, volume XVII (Comprising the Period from August 27 to November 25), Melbourne: John Ferres, printer, OCLC 220034139, pages 2004, column 2 – 2005, column 1:
      What, for instance, did the honorable member for North Melbourne (Mr. Curtain) care about the Horsham extension? Not twopence, unless it helped him to get the "outer circle" line. It was much the same with the honorable member for Crowlands (Mr. Woods), the honorable member for the Avoca (Mr. Grant), the honorable member for South Gippsland (Mr. Mason), and others. In fact it was felt during the whole of the discussion that there was an excellent chance for good wholesale log-rolling. He believed a more wholesale attempt at log-rolling never was made.
    • 1896, “Discussion of the Address of Mr. Courtney”, in Proceedings of the Illinois State Bar Association at Its Nineteenth Annual Meeting Held in the City of Springfield, January 23 and 24, 1896 with the Constitution, Officers, Standing Committees and Roll of Members for the Year 1896, Springfield, Mass.: Illinois State Register Book Publishing House, OCLC 6972568, part first, page 43:
      Thus far, by a resort to the familiar method of "log-rolling," all attempts to put an end to the Northern and Southern divisions have failed, because of the union of the opposing interests with those that want large appropriations in different parts of the State; and it is quite probable that the same tactics will be successful in the future at all general sessions.
    • 1991, Jack Snyder, “The Myth of Security through Expansion”, in Myths of Empire: Domestic Politics and International Ambition (Cornell Studies in Security Affairs), Ithaca, N.Y.; London: Cornell University Press, →ISBN, page 18:
      By its nature logrolling pays off concentrated group interests and ignores diffuse interests, like taxpayers, who are hard to organize. Since interests in expansion and militarism are typically more concentrated than the interests opposed to them, logrolling is inherently more apt to produce overexpansion than underexpansion.
    • 1997, Thomas Stratmann, “Logrolling”, in Dennis C[ary] Mueller, editor, Perspectives on Public Choice: A Handbook, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, →ISBN, page 322:
      Incentives to engage in the exchange of votes in legislatures, or logrolling, have existed since the inception of legislatures. Most prominently, logrolling is alleged in the United States, where a plurality rule is employed to elect representatives from single-member districts.
    • 2014, Reed K. Holden; Leigh Thompson, “Truth 21. Logrolling (I Scratch Your Back, You Scratch Mine)”, in Learn Successful Sales and Negotiation Tips (Collection), Upper Saddle River, N.J.: FT Press Delivers, →ISBN:
      Logrolling is making mutually beneficial tradeoffs between the issues on the table. [] If a negotiator is positional or demanding, logrolling will be much more difficult. Logrolling is the art and science of being firm but flexible.
  3. (uncountable, US, figuratively) Mutual recommendation of friends' or colleagues' services or products, such as book recommendations in literary reviews.
    • 2017 January 3, Mike Hale, “With Schwarzenegger as host, ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ lacks old bite [print version: On TV, Schwarzenegger is no Trump, The New York Times, international edition, 5 January 2017, page 2]”, in The New York Times[1], archived from the original on 10 January 2017:
      The show around him [The Celebrity Apprentice], with its cast of backbiting reality retreads and its blatant logrolling – the first challenge involved a beauty line put out by Tyra Banks, one of Mr. [Arnold] Schwarzenegger's "advisers" – was pretty much the same as always.

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  1. present participle of logroll.

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