Word of the Day : December 7, 2015

jackleg

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adjective JACK-leg

Definition

1 a : characterized by unscrupulousness, dishonesty, or lack of professional standards

b : lacking skill or training : amateur

2 : designed as a temporary expedient : makeshift

Did You Know?

Don't call someone jackleg unless you're prepared for that person to get angry with you. Throughout its 165-year-old history in English, jackleg has most often been used as a term of contempt and deprecation, particularly in reference to lawyers and preachers. Its form echoes that of the similar blackleg, an older term for a cheating gambler or a worker opposed to union policies. Etymologists know that blackleg appeared over fifty years before jackleg, but they don't have any verifiable theories about the origin of either term.


Examples

Bill's only a jackleg carpenter, but he is sufficiently competent to handle less complex jobs.

"Local engineers knew even during construction that the canal upgrade was a bit of a jackleg job." — Christopher Cooper and Robert Block, Disaster, 2006



Name That Synonym

What day of the week is sometimes used as a synonym of jackleg in its "amateur" sense?

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