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

  • n. Informal An old, dilapidated motor vehicle, especially an automobile.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An old, dilapidated automobile.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a car that is old and unreliable


Origin unknown.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Origin unknown. Is it possible that the non Spanish-speaking New Orleans-based longshoremen, referring to scrapped autos circa 1920 destined for Jalapa, Mexico scrapyards, pronounced the destination on the palettes "jalopies" rather than multiples or possessive of Jalapa? (Wiktionary)



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  • I agree this is a fabulous word.

    March 9, 2009

  • This word makes me giggle--just the sequence of sounds. It seems like it should be a blobby type of jelly.

    November 13, 2008

  • Not used in Australia though it's a grand word.

    October 8, 2008

  • July 29, 2007