boondoggle

Pronounced: BOON-dog-uhl (alt: BOON-daw-guhl), noun

Notes: While I’ve heard this word used, I wasn’t sure of the precise definition


Yesterday’s word

The word spread-eagle means, as a noun, “an emblematic representation of an eagle with outspread wings”. As a verb, it means

  • to position someone with arms and legs stretched out
  • to assume the form of a spread eagle
  • to be boastful of bombastic in a display of nationalistic pride

As an adjective, it means

  • lying with arms and legs stretched out
  • boastful or bombastic in a display of nationalistic pride
First usage

The word came into English in the mid-1500s

Background / Comments

It is clear that the image of an eagle with its wings spread out was became spread-eagle (in the various forms). The coat of arms of the United States of America has a spread-eagle. The boastful meaning is less clear; presumably, since the spread-eagle was a popular emblem used in heraldry, boastful or bombastic people associated certain countries using the emblem came to be called by this term.

Published by Richard

Christian, lover-of-knowledge, Texan, and other things.

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