Posted by: Jack Henry | August 14, 2017

Editor’s Corner: Jury-rigged and Jerry-built

Are you confused about the differences between jury-rigged and jerry-built? I found an article from Grammar Girl that explains the difference between the two terms.

Jury-rigged means something “built in a makeshift fashion” with available materials. This doesn’t necessary mean shoddy work, it just means that something was improvised or “creatively repaired under trying circumstances.” The word jury (third definition; Merriam-Webster lists the definition for the noun, verb, and adjective) as an adjective means “improvised for temporary use especially in an emergency.”

Jerry-built means something made cheaply and carelessly put together. The article also mentions that jerry was once a slang word for disreputable. See the Grammar Girl article for more information about the word jerry. I looked up jerry in Merriam-Webster and found that jerry as an adjective means “poor, slipshod, makeshift.”

Also, some folks say jerry-rigged. Merriam-Webster defines jerry-rigged as “organized or constructed in a crude or improvised manner,” and suggests that the term is a combination of jury-rigged and jerry-built.

Jackie Solano | Technical Editor | Symitar®

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