plural noun

boon·​docks ˈbün-ˌdäks How to pronounce boondocks (audio)
US, informal : a remote, thinly settled rural area : sticks
Upper Michigan seems both exotic and entirely American, a boondocks with its own special flavor.Frank Conroy
usually used with the
living out in the boondocks
In show business, this trio would have bombed in the boondocks, far from the Broadway lights.James Baldwin
US, informal, chiefly in military use : rough country filled with dense brush
usually used with the
The drill is to swim in undetected, get into the boondocks, change to camouflage, and move out for some kind of simulated strike on the base.Richard Hill

Did you know?

Boondocks and Boondoggles

Boon (“ a timely benefit; a favor”) is a fairly old English word, dating back to the 12th century. In light of this one might be excused for thinking that words such as boondocks ("a rural area") and boondoggle (“a wasteful or impractical project or activity often involving graft”) are of similar vintage. However, not only are both of these words much newer than boon, they are not related to it (or to each other), except by a coincidence of spelling. Boondoggle is believed to have been coined in the 1920s by the American scoutmaster Robert H. Link as a name for the braided leather cords that are made and worn by Boy Scouts; it took on the “wasteful project” meaning sometime after. Boondocks is also a word from the early 20th century: it comes from the Tagalog word for a mountain, and was brought to English by the U.S. military forces who had occupied the Philippines at the beginning of the 20th century.

Examples of boondocks in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Morgan isn’t happy with the change, though Robert makes the best of having to commute daily from the boondocks to Manhattan. Odie Henderson,, 22 Nov. 2022 The experience solidified his hunch that within the next 10 years, the biggest tech companies would come not from Silicon Valley, or even New York or Seattle, but from the boondocks. Steven Levy, WIRED, 22 Sep. 2022 Our run-down apartment in the boondocks of Houston looked better than the view of the tombstones right outside our dilapidated home on wheels. Rachel Desantis, Peoplemag, 16 Sep. 2022 There is nothing glamorous about 620 Folsom St., a 99-year-old building in what once was the industrial boondocks of downtown San Francisco. John King, San Francisco Chronicle, 25 Sep. 2021 There is a unique force in the boondocks of Buenos Aires, Argentina: music producer Bizarrap, a sort of South American Dr. Dre, a hitmaker who has already accustomed its loyal fan base of tens of millions to a weekly smash rap hit. Javier Hasse, Forbes, 27 May 2021 The group would occasionally hit balls on a few makeshift holes in the boondocks north of Covington, but the experience was less than satisfying and the linksters desired a real course closer to home. Kim Chatelain | Contributing Writer,, 10 Jan. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'boondocks.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Tagalog bundok mountain

First Known Use

circa 1909, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of boondocks was circa 1909

Dictionary Entries Near boondocks

Cite this Entry

“Boondocks.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


noun plural
boon·​docks ˈbün-ˌdäks How to pronounce boondocks (audio)
: rough country filled with dense brush
: a rural area

More from Merriam-Webster on boondocks

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