Definition of boondoggle in English:


Pronunciation /ˈbo͞onˌdäɡəl/ /ˈbunˌdɑɡəl/


informal North American
  • 1Work or activity that is wasteful or pointless but gives the appearance of having value.

    ‘writing off the cold fusion phenomenon as a boondoggle best buried in literature’
    • ‘The program is incorrigible; once a boondoggle, always a boondoggle.’
    • ‘This has been a boondoggle and a PR sham that pays utilities to build more dirty plants while claiming to be coming clean.’
    • ‘But in the view of serious energy policy experts, the project bears all the hallmarks of a 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.’
    • ‘Aren't these live horseracing broadcasts boondoggles?’
    • ‘But guess whom they blame for the whole boondoggle?’
    • ‘Sam knew how to prevent an opportunity like this from turning into a boondoggle for some official's family and friends.’
    • ‘And highfliers with thriving core businesses pump capital into excess capacity or real estate boondoggles - or siphon funds into private projects.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It's an absolute boondoggle, but I'm bringing it back.’
    • ‘Private healthcare is a huge boondoggle for insurance companies and related industries who have enormous influence over both political parties.’
    • ‘Will the blackout prove to be a boon or a boondoggle for business owners?’
    • ‘Another boondoggle for the rich to jet somewhere exotic to gush over their concern for the poor.’
    • ‘The governor has become Santa Claus for every legislator with visions of boondoggles dancing in their heads.’
    • ‘Given the colorful history of federal boondoggles - billion-dollar weapons systems that misfire, $600 toilet seats - that's an understandable concern.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘So why buy more of what looks like one of the great military boondoggles?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He probably ends up working on some military boondoggle somewhere.’
    • ‘The supervisors' broadband/cable/phone proposal is a more straightforward boondoggle, involving massive new pipe laying during a sewer dig.’
    • ‘Their license area continues to be under attack as a political or ethnic boondoggle.’
    deception, trick, cheat, hoax, subterfuge, stratagem, wile, ruse, artifice, swindle, racket
    1. 1.1A public project of questionable merit that typically involves political patronage and graft.
      ‘they each drew $600,000 in the final months of the great boondoggle’
      • ‘They are not crazy, these public boondoggle people.’
      • ‘Their experts and bureaucrats would supposedly do a more professional job of confiscating our money and throwing it down the rat holes of political boondoggles.’
      • ‘Yet all this saving, much of which goes into government bonds for boondoggle construction projects with a negative net return, is killing their economy.’
      • ‘You can't improve their lot by aid if the aid money flows into Swiss bank accounts or monumental boondoggle infrastructure projects.’
      • ‘His argument overcame critics who said the project was a Big Brother boondoggle not worth its 3 billion pound cost.’
      • ‘The feds are willing to pay for this particular boondoggle.’
      • ‘We need to return to vigorously fighting the development of this pricey boondoggle.’
      • ‘The city's troubled street-paving project will turn out to be its next municipal boondoggle.’
      • ‘Congress balked at funding this boondoggle, and the program collapsed with nothing accomplished and close to a billion dollars of the taxpayer's money down the drain.’
      • ‘A gift-wrapped boondoggle letting them buy our public lands containing billions-of-dollars worth of precious metals.’
      • ‘Yet the fact remains, that's what's truly needed to document ineffective practices, or outright fraud, in this unaccountable, taxpayer-funded boondoggle.’
      • ‘It has been said that governments are shadows cast by business over the people - so why are we surprised at the Liberal Party's boondoggle?’
      • ‘As I have come to understand how the world really works, I am not surprised at this boondoggle.’
      • ‘Throw in politics and you have a boondoggle in the making.’
      • ‘Time to name your favorite government boondoggle, the biggest waste of time and money, which gets your goat!’
      • ‘Reallocate road taxes away from wasteful boondoggles?’
      • ‘Conversely, many people along Florida's lower east coast believed that Everglades reclamation was an unnecessary boondoggle.’
      • ‘You may be right that it all went in boondoggles.’
      • ‘The project to protect the United States from ballistic missile attack is one of the great boondoggles of all time.’
      • ‘Nor is it the opportunities they will create for colossal boondoggles by government contractors.’
      • ‘History will show this to be the biggest boondoggle in US history.’

intransitive verb

[no object]informal North American
  • Waste money or time on unnecessary or questionable projects.

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


1930s of unknown origin.



/ˈbo͞onˌdäɡəl/ /ˈbunˌdɑɡəl/