rice bowl n. in the military, a jealously protected program, project, department, or budget; a fiefdom. Etymological Note: Perhaps related to the Chinese concept of the rice bowl as a metaphor for the basic elements required to live, as seen, for example, in the iron rice bowl, employment that is guaranteed for life. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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2 Responses

  1. drs says:

    Please add law enforcement “speed/etc traps” to “Rice Bowls”.

    It is an often used description for motor vehicle traffic zones that have questionable/not obvious restrictions on motor vehicles and motorists.

    They appear to have more to do with fund raising than safety.

    I’ve read that at least one community, on a state highway between two larger cities, abused motorists to the extent that a state law was passed to limit their income from traffic related fines to a certain percentage of their operating budget.
    Examples:
    – Highway #41 in North Ft. Meyers, FL.
    – Anywhere in Pantego, or Dalworthington Gardens, TX

  2. Steven Gale says:

    Anotherpossible origin of this metaphor – See “Sand Pebbles”; as When Holman refuses unnecessary services he could provide himself- e.g. a shave and is is rebuked with
    Hey don’t take away his rice bowl.

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