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What we talk about when we talk about money

A look at the sometimes checkered vocabulary of public finance.

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It must just be hard to talk about money – within the body politic as within the family. That's the only reason I can come up with for some of our public-finance vocabulary.

Take , for instance. As you may be aware, if there's not a real budget deal in Congress – consenting adults surveying their options and deciding what they can give up and what they need to insist on – by March 1, automatic spending cuts will kick in. These are known as of funds. The word is rooted in the idea of "following" – as in . The idea is that sequestered funds are in the safekeeping of a trusted follower of the top guy or gal, if I'm reading the Online Etymology Dictionary right.

Jurors can be sequestered – kept in a hotel overnight if their deliberations extend more than one day – generally at the trial judge's discretion, to prevent the jury from being tainted by outside information on the case.

 
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