The spoils system
Spoil Spoil, n. [Cf. OF. espoille, L. spolium.] 1. That which is taken from another by violence; especially, the plunder taken from an enemy; pillage; booty. [1913 Webster]

Gentle gales, Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole Those balmy spoils. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

2. Public offices and their emoluments regarded as the peculiar property of a successful party or faction, to be bestowed for its own advantage; -- commonly in the plural; as, to the victor belong the spoils. [1913 Webster]

From a principle of gratitude I adhered to the coalition; my vote was counted in the day of battle, but I was overlooked in the division of the spoil. --Gibbon. [1913 Webster]

3. That which is gained by strength or effort. [1913 Webster]

Each science and each art his spoil. --Bentley. [1913 Webster]

4. The act or practice of plundering; robbery; waste. [1913 Webster]

The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, Is fit for treason, stratagems, and spoils. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

5. Corruption; cause of corruption. [Archaic] [1913 Webster]

Villainous company hath been the spoil of me. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

6. The slough, or cast skin, of a serpent or other animal. [Obs.] --Bacon. [1913 Webster]

{Spoil bank}, a bank formed by the earth taken from an excavation, as of a canal.

{The spoils system}, the theory or practice of regarding public offices and their emoluments as so much plunder to be distributed among their active partisans by those who are chosen to responsible offices of administration. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • the spoils system — [the spoils system] noun [sing] (in US politics) the system in which the winner of an election gives government jobs to his or her party workers and supporters. The tradition was begun by President Andrew ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • spoils system — the system or practice in which public offices with their emoluments and advantages are at the disposal of the victorious party for its own purposes. [1830 40, Amer.] * * * or patronage system In U.S. politics, the practice by political parties… …   Universalium

  • Spoils system — In the politics of the United States, a spoils system is an informal practice where a political party, after winning an election, gives government jobs to its voters as a reward for working toward victory, and as an incentive to keep working for… …   Wikipedia

  • The Spoils Tournament Experience — is the official name of the sanctioned tournament system for The Spoils, a Collectible Card Game created and distributed by Tenacious Games. It will award over US$1,000,000.00 to top players in tournaments worldwide between October 1, 2006, and… …   Wikipedia

  • spoils system — ☆ spoils system n. the system or practice of regarding and treating appointive public offices as the booty of the successful party in an election, to be distributed, with their opportunities for profit, among party workers …   English World dictionary

  • Spoils system — Der Begriff Spoils System bezeichnet in der US amerikanischen Politik die informelle Praxis, dass der Gewinner einer Wahl seine Unterstützer mit Arbeitsstellen in der öffentlichen Verwaltung belohnt. Das spoils system ist auch ein Anreiz für die… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • spoils system — A system under which appointment to public office is a reward for political work, with resulting evils of inefficiency, extravagance, interruption of public business by office seekers, corruption of the electoral franchise, and political… …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • spoils system — spoils′ sys tem n. gov the practice in which nonelective public offices are filled with supporters of the victorious political party …   From formal English to slang

  • spoils system — noun the system of employing and promoting civil servants who are friends and supporters of the group in power • Ant: ↑merit system • Hypernyms: ↑system, ↑system of rules …   Useful english dictionary

  • spoils system — noun Date: 1838 a practice of regarding public offices and their emoluments as plunder to be distributed to members of the victorious party …   New Collegiate Dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”