The Oxford English Dictionary records the phrase "jury-rigged" as far back as 1788, with "jury-mast" and other uses of "jury" for a temporary replacement for a damaged part of a ship as far back as 1616.

The phrases "jerry-rigged" and "jerry-built" derived from "jury-built" and it is quite possible, as stated in the node for "jerry-built," that this derives from "injury" or Old French "ajurie" which means "relief," however the OED states straight out that there is no proof of either of these theories.

Mentioned in both "jerry-rigged" and "jerry-built" is the theory that "Jerry" refers to Germans; it is true that that slang nickname existed, but the OED does not record it earlier than 1919, so it is not really possible that the phrases could have come from the belief that Germans did not do good work.

Ju"ry-rigged` (?), a. (Naut.)

Rigged for temporary service. See Jury, a.

 

© Webster 1913


Ju"ry-rigged`, a. (Naut.)

Rigged for temporary service.

 

© Webster 1913

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