Tuesday, April 04, 2017

I, the jury-rigger

Jury-rigged hip-belt assembly:


John Mac said...

I like the way you think!

Kevin Kim said...

If it works, it works, right?

Tueting said...

I think of jury-rigged as a repair made by several people who consult to solve an immediate problem - with the connotation that it might not be the best way to solve the problem because the group - the jury - might had mixed expertise (think "Too many cooks in the kitchen.") Gerry-rigged seems more appropriate here (though midwesterners seem to use an initial lower-case "j" spelling) - an individual making a repair without the proper parts (originally because of Great War shortages). I used "jerryrigging" a fair amount as a kid without realizing I was ethnically slurring myself. It wasn't until I read Paul Fussell's "Great War in Modern Memory" that I realized that it was a prejorative. Of course, living in Virginia I have heard people using a similar ethnic prejorative, but the connotation there seems to be stupidly or poorly done repair. I've also seen some etymological sleuths trace the Jerry back to English slang for an average man and postulate a connection to "Jerrybilt" or "Jerryhouse," but my Wisconsin relatives are pretty convinced of their folk etymology blaming temporary farm repairs on metal shoratges during the world wars.

Kevin Kim said...


Good lord, man—you still read this blog? (At a guess, only rarely these days, alas.)

re: jury-rigging

I say: when in doubt, hit the dictionary, which is authoritative because it reflects common intended usage. Definition #3 from here:

"to assemble quickly or from whatever is at hand, especially for temporary use:"

Exactly how I meant the term.

But the etymology of "jerry" is new to me. Interesting.

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