from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Activity, such as schoolwork or office work, meant to take up time but not necessarily yield productive results.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Alternative spelling for busy work.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. active work of little value, performed merely to occupy time, avoid boredom, or to look busy.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. active work of little value


Sorry, no etymologies found.



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  • I rather think it is just busywork, and they would be better employed washing coffee mugs in the Senior Writers' Lounge here at Language Log Plaza.

    —Geoff Pullum

    October 21, 2008