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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.
So did Michael and Jerry. The four-months' old Patsy and Kathleen had gone into the cooking-pot at the barracks, and their puppy-soft skins had been destroyed in the fire.
'It wasn't long before I begin to notice a change in Jerry. He never had been what you'd call a champion catch-as-catch-can talker, but now he was silenter than ever.
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.
Habit also struggled successfully against Jerry's increasing torpor.
And now and then one of them would look curiously at Jerry's fare.
Jerry's fare rose, and held out her numbered card simply:
Instead of responding to Jerry, Michael sniffed and glanced about in quest of Steward.
For so many years had Michael not run with another dog, that at first Jerry's invitation had little meaning to him.
"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.