busy·​work ˈbi-zē-ˌwərk How to pronounce busywork (audio)
: work that usually appears productive or of intrinsic value but actually only keeps one occupied

Examples of busywork in a Sentence

Students were given busywork for the last few minutes of class.
Recent Examples on the Web This holistic view removes a significant portion of manual busywork, enabling businesses to more easily identify cost-saving opportunities, optimize resource allocation, and make informed decisions regarding cloud usage. Jon Stojan, USA TODAY, 6 July 2023 Potential for relationship breakdowns A.I. tools are designed with efficiency in mind and can free up hours of busywork for HR professionals, like sifting through hundreds of employment applications or internal documents and data. Paige McGlauflin, Fortune, 26 June 2023 Reducing the amount of busywork in a day would also help alleviate the burnout epidemic that has ripped through American employees during the pandemic, Microsoft said in its second key finding. Tristan Bove, Fortune, 10 May 2023 Assigns needless or inappropriate busywork. Rodger Dean Duncan, Forbes, 10 Jan. 2023 Days are filled with nonessential busywork. Stephen Noonoo, The New Republic, 2 May 2022 Cutting back on busywork With generative AI, ad creatives will spend less time on rote tasks and more time working strategically, marketing experts said. Megan Graham, WSJ, 16 Mar. 2023 While the storytelling may hit a few bumps along the way, Forspoken is a memorable tale and, as game worlds grow increasingly larger and full of busywork, a lesson in what matters more than size and scope. Josh Broadwell, Rolling Stone, 23 Jan. 2023 Also interesting to note is a neat bit of compositional marvel: Not Lost frequently transitions between Newnam and his friends’ perspectives seamlessly and mostly minimizes the busywork of narration. Vulture, 5 May 2022 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1893, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of busywork was in 1893

Dictionary Entries Near busywork

Cite this Entry

“Busywork.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/busywork. Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

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