I recently found out that all of my friends use the word jerry-rig ("to build something temporary") while I use jury-rig. Across the United States, it's also true that a majority use jerry while only small groups in Massachusetts, New York, and California say jury. Apparently, neither use is incorrect, though: jury-rig is a much older word with the same meaning, probably coming from the nautical concept of quickly fixing a jury mast on a boat. That later influenced the development of jerry-rig, which originally took the form jerry-built and meant "something built with bad materials". The origin behind that is a little murky, but it first started showing up during the first world and the leading theory is that it comes from a nickname for the German people, through the notion that Germans were bad at building things (a stereotype that hasn't held up well).
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a junior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.