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World of Words
A monthly blog of interesting words, phrases, and idioms.  Like us on Facebook to receive new posts.

Some words are just plain fun to say. Boondoggle is one of those. But what is a boondoggle?

boondoggle is a project that is considered to be a waste of time, but is continued anyway. Sometimes, boondoggles are government projects which can't be given up without making a committee or politician look bad. In other situations a boondoggle might be a corporate project that some employees believe will never work, but people higher up the corporate ladder are unwilling to give up.

Originally, the term boondoggle was the name for a type of craft involving braided plastic thread. The term took on a new meaning in the days of the United States' New Deal, when the US government was working to provide jobs and activities for unemployed citizens, but some of those activities seemed to be pointless. The New York Times reported that over $3 million had been spent training citizens to make boondoggles, and suddenly, the word took on a whole new meaning!

The word boondoggle isn't used as much today as it was in the 1930s, but when it is used, it is often used by the political left to refer to spending by the right, or vice versa.

Oh! And one more thing: you can use boondoggle as a verb if you want to. To boondoggle means to waste your time or money on a useless project.

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