yak shaving


Also found in: Idioms.

yak shaving

Performing a somewhat trivial or meaningless task. Programmers may have to "shave a yak" along with coding, which is what they love to do. For example, creating test data for a new application may be boring and tiresome.

Yak shaving may also refer to becoming sidetracked and wasting time doing something unforeseen. The term is derived from "Quest for the Shaven Yak," a video game for Sega consoles in the early 1990s.
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