Definition of boondoggle in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈbo͞onˌdäɡəl/
North American informal


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
More example sentences
  • 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.
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
More example sentences
  • 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.


[no object]
Waste money or time on unnecessary or questionable projects.
Example sentences
  • 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.


1930s: of unknown origin.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: boon·dog·gle

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.