[ boon-dog-uhl, -daw-guhl ]
See synonyms for: boondoggleboondoggledboondoggling on

  1. a wasteful and worthless project undertaken for political, corporate, or personal gain, typically a government project funded by taxpayers: Is high-speed rail a valuable addition to infrastructure, or a boondoggle?

  2. work of little or no value done merely to keep or look busy.

  1. a product of simple manual skill, as a plaited leather cord for the neck or a knife sheath, made typically by a camper or a scout.

verb (used with object),boon·dog·gled, boon·dog·gling.
  1. to deceive or attempt to deceive: to boondoggle investors into a low-interest scheme.

verb (used without object),boon·dog·gled, boon·dog·gling.
  1. to do work of little or no practical value merely to keep or look busy.

Origin of boondoggle

An Americanism dating back to 1930–35; of unknown origin

Other words from boondoggle

  • boon·dog·gler, noun

Words Nearby boondoggle Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use boondoggle in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for boondoggle


/ (ˈbuːnˌdɒɡəl) informal, mainly US and Canadian /

  1. (intr) to do futile and unnecessary work

  1. a futile and unnecessary project or work

Origin of boondoggle

C20: said to have been coined by R. H. Link, American scoutmaster

Derived forms of boondoggle

  • boondoggler, noun

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012