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

  • n. Slang A system, especially a computer system, that is constituted of poorly matched elements or of elements originally intended for other applications.
  • n. Slang A clumsy or inelegant solution to a problem.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. an improvised device, usually crudely constructed. Typically used to test the validity of a principle before doing a finished design.
  • n. any construction or practice, typically inelegant, designed to solve a problem temporarily or expediently.
  • v. to build or use a kludge

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

  • n. a badly assembled collection of parts hastily assembled to serve some particular purpose (often used to refer to computing systems or software that has been badly put together)


From ironic use of earlier kluge, smart, clever, from spelling pronunciation of German kluge, from Middle High German kluc, from Middle Low German klōk.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Perhaps from British military slang, possibly based on Scots word kludge or kludgie ("common toilet") or from the German klug ("clever"); possibly related to Polish and Russian klucz ("a key, a hint, a main point") (Wiktionary)



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  • see kludge at the jargon file

    see kludgie

    December 8, 2008

  • ‘An ill-assorted collection of poorly-matching parts, forming a distressing whole’ (Granholm); esp. in Computing, a machine, system, or program that has been improvised or ‘bodged’ together; a hastily improvised and poorly thought-out solution to a fault or ‘bug’. (OED online) Hence, kludgemanship.

    February 6, 2007