Origin of boondoggle
OTHER WORDS FROM boondoggleboon·dog·gler, noun
Words nearby boondoggle
What does boondoggle mean?
A boondoggle is a government project considered to have little purpose or value and to be a waste of taxpayer money.
More generally, it can refer to any work done simply to look busy. These senses of the word are based on its original, literal meaning: a decorative but otherwise useless cord of braided leather or plastic (or another such handicraft) stereotypically made by Scouts.
Boondoggle can also be used as a verb meaning to deceive. All senses of the word are primarily used in the U.S. and Canada.
Example: Critics called the mayor’s proposal for a tech hub nothing more than a boondoggle to please his political donors.
Where does boondoggle come from?
The first records of the word boondoggle come from the 1930s. The term is often attributed to American scoutmaster R.H. Link. The literal sense of the word refers to the kind of braided cords often made by Scouts, which are typically attached to things like handkerchiefs and keychains as a decoration.
Today, boondoggle is commonly associated with unnecessary government spending, especially by the U.S. federal government. A project is typically called a boondoggle by those who think it’s unnecessary and wasteful. Boondoggles are often blamed on politicians who add such expenditures into budgets as a favor to their cronies, or as a way of getting a favor in return. Boondoggle is always used in a negative way to criticize such projects as worthless or pointless, and especially as a waste of money and resources.
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How is boondoggle used in real life?
Boondoggle is primarily an American term used in the context of politics. It’s always used negatively—unless it literally refers to the little braided trinkets made by Scouts.
yo i had no idea these were called boondoggles?? but i made them so much as a kid omg pic.twitter.com/QWWbcMnEvm
— 🌷 vicky 🌷 @ suffering like everyone else (@svartwork) April 2, 2020
Many of the same Tories trashing Ottawa for spending too much in good times (a fair criticism) were Alberta Tories who helped spend the entire resource wealth of the province, running deficits @ $100 oil and financing boondoggles like NW Upgrader's $26 billion liability. #cdnpoli
— eric denhoff (@EDenhoff) March 31, 2020
This is going to be the biggest unaccounted for boondoggle ever.
When it’s all over the public won’t have a clue where a lot of the money went.
— Sven Henrich (@NorthmanTrader) March 24, 2020
Try using boondoggle!
Which of the following words is LEAST likely to describe a boondoggle?
How to use boondoggle in a sentence
While the boondoggles, electric scooters swarms and exhibits may be nixed, marketers and brands are still finding ways to launch their products at the annual event.‘The right place to launch’: Why a new voice-based platform is using SXSW to introduce the app|Kimeko McCoy|March 16, 2021|Digiday
In new digital ads, the GOP's Senate committee warns voters that the American Rescue Act will be a boondoggle.The Trailer: What the stimulus means for the next campaign|David Weigel|March 11, 2021|Washington Post
Without the boondoggles of curated content, profile pictures and filtered images, Clubhouse and its users value transparency, Busby said.‘Because it’s so new and fresh’: It took a minute, but brands are in the Clubhouse app|Seb Joseph|February 22, 2021|Digiday
The week-long conference may be a boondoggle, but for agency execs like Hofherr, chief strategy officer and co-founder of San Francisco-based full service agency Mutayzik Hoffer, it made networking a breeze.‘It used to be so easy’: How networking has been reshaped by the coronavirus|Kristina Monllos|December 31, 2020|Digiday
The challenge for B2B is there is no boondoggle, there are zero boondoggles.‘You have to innovate on the value’: The disparate state of virtual event ticketing|Lucinda Southern|August 7, 2020|Digiday
Want proof that the whole thing is nothing more than a political boondoggle?
While that may have some positive health effects, aggressive medical therapy is also a boondoggle for drug companies.Doctors Should Start Advocating Dietary Options to Treat Heart Disease|Daniela Drake|July 11, 2013|DAILY BEAST
But really, aside from these nice side benefits, the whole thing is a boondoggle, at least it is for us.
To the conservative Heritage Foundation, comprehensive immigration reform is an epic boondoggle.Immigrants’ IQ Lower, Wrote Coathor of Heritage Foundation Report|Jamelle Bouie|May 9, 2013|DAILY BEAST
“The Dick Morris/Newsmax Super PAC Boondoggle,” at Media Matters.