doing useless wasteful or insignificant work
- a braided cord created by hand by youthful scouts used for various functions such as for example a hat cord or an integral string
- do ineffective, wasteful, or trivial work
- work of minimal price done just to look busy
1935, American English, of unsure origin, popularized during brand new contract as a contemptuous word for make-work tasks for unemployed. Thought to being a pioneer term for "gadget;" additionally had been by 1932 a Boy Scout term for some sort of woven braid.