Definition of boondoggle in English:



North American
  • An unnecessary, wasteful, or fraudulent project.

    ‘he characterized the defense program as an unworkable boondoggle’
    • ‘The PQ was especially given to swallowing corporate dogma whole, as evidenced by their mammoth funding of the short-lived ‘multimedia boom’ and other boondoggles.’
    • ‘Their license area continues to be under attack as a political or ethnic boondoggle.’
    • ‘Will the blackout prove to be a boon or a boondoggle for business owners?’
    • ‘The governor has become Santa Claus for every legislator with visions of boondoggles dancing in their heads.’
    • ‘Sam knew how to prevent an opportunity like this from turning into a boondoggle for some official's family and friends.’
    • ‘The supervisors' broadband/cable/phone proposal is a more straightforward boondoggle, involving massive new pipe laying during a sewer dig.’
    • ‘That's the time-off we manage to squeeze in during the business boondoggles to the Caribbean, or the hours not spent checking in via e-mail or cell phone.’
    • ‘The program is incorrigible; once a boondoggle, always a boondoggle.’
    • ‘Aren't these live horseracing broadcasts boondoggles?’
    • ‘So why buy more of what looks like one of the great military boondoggles?’
    • ‘Private healthcare is a huge boondoggle for insurance companies and related industries who have enormous influence over both political parties.’
    • ‘But to interview, over five years, 425 people, some of them scarcely or not at all relevant to the ostensible topic, smells of academic boondoggle to me.’
    • ‘Given the colorful history of federal boondoggles - billion-dollar weapons systems that misfire, $600 toilet seats - that's an understandable concern.’
    • ‘He probably ends up working on some military boondoggle somewhere.’
    • ‘But guess whom they blame for the whole boondoggle?’
    • ‘It's an absolute boondoggle, but I'm bringing it back.’
    • ‘Another boondoggle for the rich to jet somewhere exotic to gush over their concern for the poor.’
    • ‘This has been a boondoggle and a PR sham that pays utilities to build more dirty plants while claiming to be coming clean.’
    • ‘And highfliers with thriving core businesses pump capital into excess capacity or real estate boondoggles - or siphon funds into private projects.’
    • ‘But in the view of serious energy policy experts, the project bears all the hallmarks of a boondoggle.’
    • ‘As you may guess I am no fan of corporate-welfare boondoggles, but I hope that the provision to extend Daylight Savings Time survives to become law.’
    deception, trick, cheat, hoax, subterfuge, stratagem, wile, ruse, artifice, swindle, racket
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[NO OBJECT]North American
  • Spend money or time on unnecessary, wasteful, or fraudulent projects.

    ‘the only guarantees are higher taxes and bureaucratic boondoggling’
    • ‘Now hopelessly swamped in scandal and corruption, high taxes, firearms boondoggle, sponsorship scandal, etc, they are again using bribery as their last resort.’
    • ‘Charmed by his obliqueness - ‘doing’ and ‘getting’ as euphemisms for fundraising and boondoggling - I told him the name of my book.’
    • ‘I boondoggle, I dilly-dally, I hang fire; but now it's time, I delay no longer.’
    • ‘Hopefully you can boondoggle your way till the end of the day.’
    • ‘Broadcast and telecom monopolists' message comes in loud and clear for boondoggled employees.’
    • ‘He is a trusted member of the CEO brotherhood, and he never met a military boondoggle he wouldn't hug.’
    • ‘If people were actually aware of how they're being boondoggled, we might get somewhere.’
    • ‘Governments, if allowed, will continue to boondoggle along unless there are lawful reforms in place to prevent it.’
    • ‘The Rangers are still paying the San Diego Padres for taking that boondoggle off their hands.’
    • ‘Yet, despite being a harsh critic of the boondoggling ways of the administration, he has been more than tolerated by the powers that be.’
    • ‘But no talk of mismanagement - no talk of the boondoggling earlier this year that wiped out the bulk of the budget buffer in underwriting petrol prices.’
    • ‘His official budget even featured a photo of a wind-powered ice sled - an example of the alleged boondoggles he said he would no longer tolerate.’


1930s: of unknown origin.