tr.v. ju·ry-rigged, ju·ry-rig·ging, ju·ry-rigs
To rig or assemble for temporary emergency use; improvise: The survivors of the wreck jury-rigged some fishing gear.
[From jury-rig, jury-rigging, improvised rigging on a ship, modeled on jury-mast, temporary mast, perhaps ultimately from Old French ajurie, help, from aider, to help; see AID.]
Usage Note: Traditionally, to jury-rig means "to assemble for temporary, emergency use; to improvise," whereas to jerry-build means "to build shoddily, flimsily, and cheaply." The connotations are different, with jury-rig emphasizing the impromptu nature of the construction and jerry-build its inferior nature. Because improvised construction is often shoddy, however, the words are sometimes conflated in common usage, and sometimes combined into the hybrid jerry-rig. In our 2015 survey, the Usage Panel slightly preferred jerry-rig to jury-rig in a sentence involving improvised construction, but they appear to feel strongly that jerry-build implies shoddiness rather than improvisation: only 19 percent accepted After the earthquake, people jerry-built ingenious devices for cooking and washing. A careful writer will use jury-rig or jerry-rig for improvised contraptions and jerry-build for shoddy ones, but because of the potential for confusion, one should also make sure that the meaning is clear in context before using any of these terms.
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