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jerry built

Shoddily constructed. The origin of the term is unknown. That jerry built house could blow over in a strong wind! Yeah, you didn't fool Mom for a second with that jerry built story you concocted.
See also: built, Jerry


mod. carelessly and awkwardly built. The lawyer’s case was jerry-built, but the jury bought it anyway.

jerry built

Constructed in a cheap, ramshackle, or otherwise insubstantial fashion. Although the phrase is widely thought to have come from the British World War I slang term for “German,” it well antedates the 20th century. Some possibilities are an old English word for tumble, Jericho (as in Joshua causing the walls to come tumbling down).
See also: built, Jerry
References in classic literature ?
Only an hour before, Jerry had come down from the plantation house to the beach to see the Arangi depart.
Not long after he had learned to sprawl, Jerry had learned that.
Jerry knew this, as did his father and mother and brother, for they had smelled the unmistakable burnt-meat smell, and Terrence, in his rage of knowledge, had even attacked Mogom the house-boy, and been reprimanded and cuffed by Mister Haggin, who had not smelled and did not understand, and who had always to impress discipline on all creatures under his roof-tree.
He knew as well as I did what it would mean if Jerry was to lead home a blushing bride through that front door.
I couldn't but admit that Jerry had picked one right from the top of the basket.
You could tell without looking at her, just by the feel of the atmosphere when she was near, that she had as much snap and go in her as Jerry Moore hadn't, which was a good bit.
Sargeant," began Jerry in his old raucous, martyred, thunderous tones of complaint.
The next time Jerry dabbed at him with a paw, barked, and scurried away in an enticing semicircle, Michael started involuntarily though slowly after him.
Michael sprang away again, and was numbly aware of an ancient joy as he shouldered Jerry who shouldered against him as they ran side by side.
The green California spring merged into tawny summer, as Jerry, ever running afield, made Michael acquainted with the farthest and highest reaches of the Kennan ranch in the Valley of the Moon.
Jerry of course came back to the stand, but in about ten minutes one of the shopmen called him, so we drew up to the pavement.
I'll do my very best," said Jerry heartily, "if you think you are well enough, sir," for he looked dreadfully white and ill.
The next minute Jerry was on the box; with a cheery chirrup to me, and a twitch of the rein that I well understood.
Young Jerry relieved his father with dutiful interest, and reported No job in his absence.
This touched Young Jerry on a tender place; who adjured his mother to perform her first duty, and, whatever else she did or neglected, above all things to lay especial stress on the discharge of that maternal function so affectingly and delicately indicated by his other parent.