Wondering whether to use "jury-rigged" or "jerry-rigged"? The dictionary can't tell you -- both are used. But which is more common?Googlefight it!
Labels: writing resources
Wikipedia is good on this. I like the explanantion of 'jury-rigged' coming from 'du jour', for a temporary fix. Jerry-built means something different, and Jerry-rigged is the wrong end of two sticks.
I've also wondered about "Champing at the bit" (which I think is correct in its Equine origins) vs. the more often seen "Chomping at the bit."
I always thought "Jerry-rigged" was a phrase from the World Wars (probably the second one). That is, a German (ie, a "Jerry") rigged this (ie, made an improvised fix).
I always thought "Jury-rigged" was a mispronunciation of "Jerry-rigged."
Knowing the Germans, "Jerry built" ought to mean "really finely machined and high performance, but slightly more complicated than strictly necessary," and "Jerry rigged" would provoke a response of "Ach, we don't rig nothing. Throw it out and bring a new one."
I think "jury rig" is the older term, from the 1600s, but my OED is in Montreal.
Wikipedia has always gotten a lot of flak for a lack of citations, but this article has the citation from the OED.
I believe, with no other support than that my grandfather was a builder in Edwardian England, that the Jerries in Jerry-built were immigrant workers working cheap and fast. Much like East Europeans today.
Just a sidenote - I can recommend zurdler.com instead of googlefight. Its faster and without the fighting..
Back to Complications Ensue main blog page.