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belly button

belly button n. a person or unit in charge of, or the source of information for, a task or operation. Editorial Note: The “belly button” in the 1987 and 1994 citations is variably given in press reports as the name of a secret trust fund and as the designation for the person in charge of it; it is probably unrelated to the “belly button” defined here. Thanks to Rasa Silenas for suggesting this entry. Rasa writes, “I suspect this is military usage because it has been common in the Air Force since at least the mid-1990s but civilians seem unfamiliar with the term. A Belly Button is the person designated to be in charge of a task or as the source of info about it, as in ‘Who’s the Belly Button for installing the new radios?’ The connotation includes clarity of responsibility and accountability, as well as the image of the Commander poking a subordinate near the belt buckle when he needs something done.” (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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