Where does the word “jerrybuilt” come from and What does jerrybuilt mean?

Jerry, whoever he was, was a bad egg, or at least one held in contempt.

He first appeared on the literary scene in the early eighteenth century as jerrymumble or jerrycummumble in some such sense as a tumbler or one who is knocked about.

Scott, gruesomely, has a jerry-come-tumble dancing at the end of a hangman’s rope. And we had a Jerry-Sneak, an unkind appellation for a browbeaten husband.

Latest to appear was the jerrybuilt cottage of about a hundred years ago, certainly too unsubstantial to be still standing, but being replaced daily through the efforts of modern jerrybuilders.

No record exists of the identity of the first Jerry deserving such continued reproach.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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