boondoggle

play
noun boon·dog·gle \ˈbün-ˌdä-gəl, -ˌdȯ-\

Definition of boondoggle

  1. 1 :  a braided cord worn by Boy Scouts as a neckerchief slide (see 2slide 4b), hatband, or ornament

  2. 2 :  a wasteful or impractical project or activity often involving graft The project is a complete boondoggle—over budget, behind schedule, and unnecessary.

boondoggle

intransitive verb

boondoggler

play \-g(ə-)lər\ noun

boondoggle was our Word of the Day on 03/12/2007. Hear the podcast!

Examples of boondoggle in a Sentence

  1. Critics say the dam is a complete boondoggle—over budget, behind schedule, and unnecessary.

Recent Examples of boondoggle from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'boondoggle'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

When boondoggle popped up in the pages of the New York Times in 1935, lots of people tried to explain where the word came from. One theory traced it to an Ozarkian word for gadget, while another related it to the Tagalog word that gave us boondocks. Another hypothesis suggested that boondoggle came from the name of leather toys Daniel Boone supposedly made for his dog. But the only theory that is supported by evidence is much simpler. In the 1920s, Robert Link, a scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts of America, apparently coined the word to name the braided leather cords made and worn by scouts. The word came to prominence when such a scout boondoggle was presented to the Prince of Wales at the 1929 World Jamboree, and it's been with us ever since.

Origin and Etymology of boondoggle

coined by Robert H. Link †1957 American scoutmaster


BOONDOGGLE Defined for English Language Learners

boondoggle

play
noun

Definition of boondoggle for English Language Learners

  • : an expensive and wasteful project usually paid for with public money

Learn More about boondoggle


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