More modern use of the term came up in a 1991 Ren & Stimpy cartoon citing "Yak Shaving Day," a Christmas-like Holiday where participants hang diapers instead of stockings, stuff rubber boots with cole slaw, and watch for the shaven yak to float by in his canoe.
- (idiomatic) Any apparently useless activity which, by allowing you to overcome intermediate difficulties, allows you to solve a larger problem.
- I was doing a bit of yak shaving this morning, and it looks like it might have paid off.
- (idiomatic) The actually useless activity you do that appears important when you are consciously or unconsciously procrastinating about a larger problem.
- I thought I'd get more work done if I just fixed a problem with my .emacs file, but then I spent the whole afternoon yak shaving.
- For usage examples of this term, see the citations page.
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