pencil whip

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(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)


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pencil whip (third-person singular simple present pencil whips, present participle pencil whipping, simple past and past participle pencil whipped)

  1. (idiomatic) To approve a document without actually knowing or reviewing what it is that is being approved.
  2. (idiomatic) To complete a form, record, or document without having performed the implied work or without supporting data or evidence.
    Knowing the auditors were coming in just a week, we chose to pencil whip the quarterly inventory forms for the last year.
    • 1998, Airman (volume 42, page 26)
      So, if you pencil-whipped that last survey, you've probably shot yourself in the foot, according to Stanley.
    • 2018, Shane Bauer, American Prison
      “Nothing should be 9:00, 9:15, 9:30, because the auditors say you're pencil-whipping it. And truth be known, we do pencil-whip it. We can't add by fifteen because that really puts you in a bind. Add by fourteen. That looks pretty come audit time. []

Usage notes[edit]

This term is popular among military personnel and auditors. The verb in British and US nautical circles is gundeck.