- a product of simple manual skill, as a plaited leather cord for the neck or a knife sheath, made typically by a camper or a scout.
- work of little or no value done merely to keep or look busy.
- a project funded by the federal government out of political favoritism that is of no real value to the community or the nation.
verb (used with object), boon·dog·gled, boon·dog·gling.
- to deceive or attempt to deceive: to boondoggle investors into a low-interest scheme.
verb (used without object), boon·dog·gled, boon·dog·gling.
- to do work of little or no practical value merely to keep or look busy.
- (intr) to do futile and unnecessary work
- a futile and unnecessary project or work
1935, American English, of uncertain origin, popularized during the New Deal as a contemptuous word for make-work projects for the unemployed. Said to have been a pioneer word for “gadget;” it also was by 1932 a Boy Scout term for a kind of woven braid.