Origin of boondoggleorigin, originally dialect, dialectal , ornamental leather strap; modern sense from c. 1935
intransitive verb-·gled, -·gling
- An unnecessary or wasteful project or activity.
- a. A braided leather cord worn as a decoration especially by Boy Scouts.b. A cord of braided leather, fabric, or plastic strips made by a child as a project to keep busy.
intransitive verbboon·dog·gled, boon·dog·gling, boon·dog·gles
Origin of boondoggleCoined before 1929 by Robert H. Link, American Eagle Scout, as a name for a braided leather decoration, perhaps on the model of earlier woggle Boy Scout's braided leather neckerchief fastener in the shape of a Turk's-head or toggle Sense 1, from a public controversy that emerged in 1935 after New Deal funds were used to provide instruction for the unemployed in handicrafts such as leather braiding
(third-person singular simple present boondoggles, present participle boondoggling, simple past and past participle boondoggled)
- (intransitive) To waste time on a pointless activity.
Coined by Robert H. Link, American scout, 1929; alternatively “boon doggle”. Compare woggle of similar sense, attested in same period.
In sense of “wasteful government program”, popularized in 1935 by The New York Times, in reference to New Deal programs which were claimed to feature people making such braids.