Little Curiosity: Earmark

Dec 11, 2007Archive

Today I wondered where the term earmark came from. NPR was talking about congress earmarking funds. It was earmark this, earmark that. Suddenly the word sounded ridiculous repeated. So I looked up its origin. Drumroll please:

Earmark is a the term that dates to the 16th century, originally referring to cuts or marks in the ears of cattle and sheep made to show ownership.

Maybe if congressfolk had to cut their ears every time they spent our money, we’d shrink that deficit!