Does "laundry list" have any negative connotation?
Or can it be used synonymously to "long list" in informal contexts?

  • 2
    Hello and welcome to the site - did you do some websearch on "laundry list"? If yes, please include your findings - you may always edit your own posts. But overall, I think this is an interesting question.
    – Stephie
    Mar 11, 2015 at 7:47
  • Does "a long list" have any negative connotation? Mar 11, 2015 at 12:03
  • Here is a wee laundry list of a laundry list of: corpus.byu.edu/coca/?c=coca&q=37711393. You can see it for yourself whether it carries any connotation but long. Mar 11, 2015 at 12:10

2 Answers 2


A quick websearch defines "laundry list" as

So, yes, the phrase can basically be used for all types of long lists.

The only "negativity" that may be percieved that it is usually used for mundane and boring issues. This becomes especially clear once you consider the origin of the term: A list of items that was sent away for washing - per se characterized by repetition and mundaneness.

Therefore you probably wouldn't say "I had a laundry list of rides I wanted to do in Disneyland". If you did, you would implicitly point out that even fun can be exhausting...


Yes, I think so!

Laundry list probably comes from a number of things to be done as laundry, often boring. So, I think 'laundry list' though it means a long list to do things reflects a bit of frustration, annoyance or something unpleasant (but important to do).

For instance, If I have loads of work during weekdays, I may say...

There is a long list of work to do on Monday and Tuesday

But then, if this all work, unfortunately, is falling on weekend (when I generally unwind), I'll say...

Damn! There is a laundry list of work to do on this weekend.

  • Actually, the term originates back in time when laundry was sent away for washing (ususally from well-todo households to service providers). A laundry list is literally a list of items - ready for double-checking once the clean laundry was to be returned.
    – Stephie
    Mar 11, 2015 at 12:02

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