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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.
a room where a small group of people make important decisions. (Usually used in reference to political parties.) The smoke-filled rooms are still producing the candidates for most offices, despite all the political reforms. The deal was cut in a smoke-filled 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.
n. a room where a small group of people make important decisions. (Usually used in reference to political parties.) The smoke-filled rooms are still producing the candidates for most offices, even as we approach the year 2000.