a smoke-filled room

smoke-filled room

A secluded, private place hidden from the knowledge of the public. Usually refers to deals and policies made in business and politics, and often implies a degree of questionable ethics or scruples. What we're discovering now is that the heads of the studios decided in a smoke-filled room nearly 60 years ago to implement policies that would ensure no competitors would intrude on their lucrative market. People are becoming increasingly frustrated that our entire lives are dictated by a powerful few in smoke-filled rooms in Washington.
See also: room

a smoke-filled room

COMMON If someone says that a political or business decision is made in a smoke-filled room, they mean that it is made by a small group of people in a private meeting, rather than in a more democratic or open way. We're not going to see a return to the smoke-filled room, in which a few ministers and company bosses made all the decisions. Note: This was first used to refer to the suite in the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago where Warren Harding was chosen as the Republican presidential candidate in 1920.
See also: room
References in periodicals archive ?
One room contains a smoke room which allows people to experience what it would be like if they were in a smoke-filled room.
I HAVE many memories of being in a smoke-filled room or pub, but on one of my trips back to Liverpool around five years ago I ended up in several pubs on a Saturday night.
He said: "It turned out that although smokers enjoyed a cigarette they actually didn't want to sit in a smoke-filled room all night so I decided to take the gamble.
Firefighter Neil McElvenny said: "The fire engine rides proved the most popular and the smoke tent gave people the experience of how to escape from a smoke-filled room.
Plucky Thomas O'Neill, 51, wrapped himself in a blanket and dived into a smoke-filled room to rescue Marie McCarthy, 42, and her grandson Jamie, three.
Bravery awards are being presented to two Coventry police officers who saved the life of a woman trapped in a smoke-filled room.