Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To build shoddily, flimsily, and cheaply.

Etymologies

From dialectal jerry, defective, perhaps from the name Jerry.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Why go out risking unforeseeable and probably adverse results, and jerry-build elsewhere in the governmental system for this purpose?

    Senate Reform

  • He is aware that at such points, for example, as the reference to authorities in the chapter on the biological problem, and to books in the educational chapter, the lacunar quality of his reading and knowledge is only too evident; to fill in and complete his design -- notably in the fourth paper -- he has had quite frankly to jerry-build here and there.

    Mankind in the Making

  • He is aware that at such points, for example, as the reference to authorities in the chapter on the biological problem, and to books in the educational chapter, the lacunar quality of his reading and knowledge is only too evident; to fill in and complete his design — notably in the fourth paper — he has had quite frankly to jerry-build here and there.

    Mankind in the Making

  • It takes half a year to jerry-build a dingy street, but it takes a decade for newly-planted trees to give the woodland air by imperceptible stages to a stretch of country.

    Post-Prandial Philosophy

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Comments

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  • I've heard/used jerry-built. Also see Rube Goldberg.

    October 17, 2007

  • To build shoddily, flimsily, and cheaply.
    ETYMOLOGY: From dialectal jerry, defective, perhaps from the name Jerry.
    OTHER FORMS: jerry-builder —NOUN

    October 17, 2007