: work assigned or done chiefly to keep one busy

Examples of make-work in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web For those who can’t or won’t head West, the alternative games offer a make-work project for athletes to continue in some kind of competition, and also to earn money to keep going. Fred Weir, The Christian Science Monitor, 4 Mar. 2024 But social make-work projects don’t improve American living standards. Allysia Finley, WSJ, 31 Dec. 2023 New Deal relief and make-work programs provided something of a cushion for many destitute Americans who might now treat themselves to a small indulgence. Thomas Doherty, The Hollywood Reporter, 17 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'make-work.' 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

1911, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of make-work was in 1911

Dictionary Entries Near make-work

Cite this Entry

“Make-work.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/make-work. Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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