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Re: Jerry built.

Posted by TheFallen on September 15, 2002

In Reply to: jerry built. posted by Ed Stansell on September 15, 2002

: My take on this is that it comes from "jury rigged", which means something that has been constucted in a makeshift way. Not really done right. You can see how jury could easily become jerry, and since it regards the construction of something, ergo: built. I'm satisfied with this even if no one else is.
: ES

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, jerry-built is not related by origin to jury-rigged, but stems from a dialect term "jerry", meaning defective. Jury-built has connotations of both emergency and necessity about it. However, confusion between the two phrases has given rise to a hybrid expression, namely "jerry-rigged". The following three pastes make this assertion clear.

JERRY-BUILD (verb):
To build shoddily, flimsily, and cheaply.
ETYMOLOGY: From dialectal jerry, defective, perhaps from the name Jerry.

JURY-RIG (verb): To rig or assemble for temporary emergency use; improvise: The survivors of the wreck jury-rigged some fishing gear.
ETYMOLOGY: From jury-rig, jury-rigging, improvised rigging on a ship, modeled on jury-mast, temporary mast, perhaps ultimately from Old French ajurie, help, from aider, to help.

JERRY-RIG (verb):
To jury-rig.
ETYMOLOGY: Alteration (influenced by jerry-build) of jury-rig.