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jerry built

Shoddily constructed. Hyphenated if used before a noun. The origin of the term is unknown. You could tell house was jerry built. It looked like it would 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

jerry sneak

1. obsolete A man who has been thoroughly and continually dominated, intimidated, bullied, or browbeaten by his wife. Refers to a character in Samuel Foote's 1764 play The Mayor of Garratt. Lord Edgar used to be the most adventurous man I knew, but since getting married, he's become a real jerry sneak.
2. obsolete Someone who steals watches. I know that man—he's a jerry sneak who's stolen many a watch from my patrons!
See also: Jerry, sneak

Tom and Jerry

A spiced drink that contains liquor (usually rum) and is served hot. It is named for characters in the 19th-century novel Life in London (not the cartoon characters). I'm ordering a Tom and Jerry—what do you want to drink?
See also: and, Jerry, tom
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.


mod. carelessly and awkwardly built. The lawyer’s case was jerry-built, but the jury bought it anyway.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

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
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price
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