[ boon-dog-uh l, -daw-guh l ]
/ ˈbunˌdɒg əl, -ˌdɔ gəl /


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.
work of little or no value done merely to keep or look busy.
a project funded by the federal government out of political favoritism that is of no real value to the community or the nation.

verb (used with object), boon·dog·gled, boon·dog·gling.

to deceive or attempt to deceive: to boondoggle investors into a low-interest scheme.

verb (used without object), boon·dog·gled, boon·dog·gling.

to do work of little or no practical value merely to keep or look busy.

Origin of boondoggle

1930–35, Americanism; said to have been coined by R. H. Link, American scoutmaster, as name for def 1
Related formsboon·dog·gler, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for boondoggle

British Dictionary definitions for boondoggle


/ (ˈbuːnˌdɒɡəl) informal, mainly US and Canadian /


(intr) to do futile and unnecessary work


a futile and unnecessary project or work
Derived Formsboondoggler, noun

Word Origin for boondoggle

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

Word Origin and History for boondoggle



1935, American English, of uncertain origin, popularized during the New Deal as a contemptuous word for make-work projects for the unemployed. Said to have been a pioneer word for "gadget;" it also was by 1932 a Boy Scout term for a kind of woven braid.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper