built cheaply and flimsily.
contrived or developed in a haphazard, unsubstantial fashion, as a project or organization.

Nearby words

  1. jerome, saint,
  2. jerreed,
  3. jerry,
  4. jerry can,
  5. jerry-build,
  6. jerry-rig,
  7. jersey,
  8. jersey barrier,
  9. jersey city,
  10. jersey giant

Origin of jerry-built

1865–70; jerry (as in jerry-build) + built

Can be confusedjerry-built jury-rigged



verb (used with object), jer·ry-built, jer·ry-build·ing.

to build cheaply and flimsily.

Origin of jerry-build

1880–85; back formation from jerry-builder. See jerry2, build

Related formsjer·ry-build·er, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for jerry-built

British Dictionary definitions for jerry-built


verb -builds, -building or -built

(tr) to build (houses, flats, etc) badly using cheap materials
Derived Formsjerry-builder, noun

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for jerry-built



1869, in which jerry has a sense of "bad, defective," probably a pejorative use of the male nickname Jerry (a popular form of Jeremy; cf. Jerry-sneak, mid-19c., "sneaking fellow, a hen-pecked husband" [OED]). Or from or influenced by nautical slang jury "temporary," which came to be used of all sorts of makeshift and inferior objects (see jury (adj.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper