July 12, 2012
grubstake (verb)
\GRUB-stayk\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: to provide with material assistance (as a loan) for launching an enterprise or for a person in difficult circumstances
How do you use it?
The museum offered to grubstake the fossil-hunting expedition on the condition that it would receive a share of what was found.
Are you a word wiz?

"Grubstake" is a homegrown American word. What event in American history do you think gave us the word "grubstake"?

"Grubstake" is one of the language nuggets unearthed during the gold rushes of the 1800s. It combines "grub," meaning "food" or "provisions," and "stake," which means "an interest or share in an undertaking." By the mid-1800s, "grubstake" was being used to describe a loan of money or goods given to a gold prospector in return for a share in any profits the prospector might make. Not long after that, "grubstake" was also showing up as a verb for the act of giving someone a grubstake. By the 1930s, it was being applied in any situation where a generous person financed the activities of the talented but poor.
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