[Ads-l] Throwing money at X

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Mon May 16 15:36:07 EDT 2016

The OED3 entry for "money" includes this cite:

1972   N.Y. Times 15 Dec. 46/4   President Nixon is employing a quite
misleading phrase when he states that ‘throwing money at social problems
does not solve them’.

Barry Popik has a lot more on his site -- in 1961, Republican Senator
Kenneth Keating was quoted as saying, "Too often our Washington reflex is
to discover a problem and then to throw money at it, hoping that somehow it
will go away”:


The expression "throw good money after bad" (and variants thereof) dates
back to the 17th century.

On Mon, May 16, 2016 at 3:15 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>

> The standard critique of liberals was that they threw money at a problem
> to make it go away.  I suspect that isn't the motivation for guys' throwing
> money at a stripper.
> > On May 16, 2016, at 2:47 PM, Benjamin Torbert <btorbert at GMAIL.COM>
> wrote:
> >
> > I'm sure I don't know, but that World According to Carp (sic) cartoon was
> > making fun of liberals using the phrase as early as the 1980s. A guy had
> a
> > flat tire and was tossing bills at it. The caption made it explicit. The
> > collection is in a book that might be in my 77yo father's basement.
> > On May 16, 2016 1:45 PM, "Gail Stygall" <stygall at u.washington.edu>
> wrote:
> >
> >> ---------------------- Information from the mail
> header-----------------------
> >> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> >> Poster:       Gail Stygall <stygall at U.WASHINGTON.EDU>
> >> Subject:      Throwing money at X
> >>
> >>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >>
> >> I have been observing a debate in a political arena in which a number of
> >> women are claiming that the street theater Billionaires for Bush act
> >> of throwing money cannot be used in the context of a women candidate.
> >> Specifically, several women on a political blog are saying that
> >> throwing dollars at people arriving at the George Clooney fundraiser for
> >> Hillary Clinton was doubly insulting because the expression
> >> had a primary association with throwing money at strippers. That
> wouldn't
> >> have been my first thought but I really don't know the origin
> >> of "throwing money at X." Anyone here know the origins of the terms? Any
> >> leads will be much appreciated.
> >>

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list