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The word boondoggle is primarily an American term. We will examine the definition of the word boondoggle, where it probably came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

A boondoggle is a project that is wasteful, poorly run or an opportunity for graft. The word boondoggle may be used as a noun or a verb, related words are boondoggles, boondoggled, boondoggling, boondoggler. Interestingly, the word boondoggle came into general use in the 1930s, often to mean make-work projects run by the United States government as relief from the economic realities of the Great Depression. The word boondoggle seems to have been coined by an American Boy Scout leader to mean braided leather straps Boy Scouts made at summer camp. How the definition of the word boondoggle made the leap from a handmade ornament to a wasteful project is unsure, though it may have been used to describe craft items in a controversial make-work project. Eventually, the work project as a whole came to be called a boondoggle.


The latest estimates have the cost of the massive boondoggle jumping from $64 billion to at least $77 billion, and it could go as high as $98 billion. (The New Hampshire Union Leader)

While small compared to the Muskrat Falls project, it still has the appearance of another boondoggle using Newfoundlanders’ own money against all common sense. (The Telegram)

The NHSEC should stand firm with their oral decision to unanimously oppose this wasteful boondoggle that would jack up electricity costs in Massachusetts, destroy pristine wilderness in New Hampshire, and cause an increase in greenhouse gas emissions in the region. (The New Hampshire Business Review)

The hyper-exclusive, invitation-only PTTOW!, known for over-the-top performances and experiences like Navy Seal training and speakers including the Dalai Lama and, has had its skeptics over the years; some have dismissed it as a boondoggle for the rich and famous and beautiful. (Forbes Magazine)