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busywork

[biz-ee-wurk]
noun
  1. work assigned for the sake of looking or keeping busy.
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Origin of busywork

First recorded in 1840–50; busy + work
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Word Origin and History for busy-work

n.

also busy work, 1910, from busy (adj.) + work (n.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper