boondoggle

A boondoggle is a useless, trivial piece of work — it's a waste of time. If you're serious about your career, you should avoid boondoggles.

Boondoggle is a silly sounding word for a silly project. Any endeavor that's a total waste of time or has no value could be called a boondoggle, especially if you're doing it just to look busy and important. The verb boondoggle means to do that useless work. If the mayor spends all his time promoting an eagle reserve in the middle of the Bronx instead of focusing on subway repairs, you could call that a boondoggle.

Definitions of boondoggle
  1. noun
    work of little or no value done merely to look busy
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    type of:
    dissipation, waste, wastefulness
    useless or profitless activity; using or expending or consuming thoughtlessly or carelessly
  2. verb
    do useless, wasteful, or trivial work
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    type of:
    work
    exert oneself by doing mental or physical work for a purpose or out of necessity
Commonly confused words

The Story of "Boondoggle": A Useful Word for Useless Work

For the Slate podcast Lexicon Valley, lexicographer Ben Zimmer explored the peculiar origins of the word boondoggle.

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