On querying a friend on their use of “jury rigged” where I would have used “jerry rigged”, we discovered some interesting things…
First of all, “jerry rigged” is a reasonably modern merging of “jerry built” and “jury rigged”, both meaning improvised though “jerry built” has a badly built implication.
Next there’s the uncertain origin of “jerry built”. “Jerry” being a term Brits used for the Germans around the World Wars, and that’s a common explanation I’ve come across for the meaning of the term. In fact “jerry built” predates this, so that’s a cool shift in perceived origin I think.
Finally, there’s “jury rigged” which goes back to the early 17th century, from when a “jury-mast” was a temporary mast put up to replace one that was broken or lost.
That’s one of the best word-origin hunts all year!