Sunday, February 1, 2009


I was checking out the Foundation for Economic Education blog Sunday during Bridgestone Super Bowl XLIII and discovered the etymology of "boondoggle".

The word took on another dimension following an April 4, 1935, New York Times article, “$3,187,000 Relief is Spent to Teach Jobless to Play ... Boon Doggles Made”. A New Deal government stimulus program changed that word's meaning to:

boon·dog·gle, n (plural boon·dog·gles) (informal)

1. insignificant pursuit: an activity or project that is trivial and wasteful of time or money
2. politically motivated government project: a government project of little practical value funded to gain political favor

vi (past boon·dog·gled, past participle boon·dog·gled, present participle boon·dog·gling, 3rd person present singular boon·dog·gles) (informal)

1. do something impractical: to do something unimportant or impractical
2. deceive or mislead somebody: to deceive or attempt to deceive somebody

[Mid-20th century. Coined by the U.S. scoutmaster R. H. Link for a braided leather cord made by Scouts.]

Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Anyone for boondoggles?

1 comment:

Brigid said...

Here's some other new terms:

1. Assmosis - The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by kissing up to those that can help them.

2. Blamestorming - Sitting around in a group discussing why everything was the Republicans fault.

3. Seagull Representation - A one term politician, who flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps over everything, and then leaves.