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kludge (klooj) noun

1. Incorrect (though regrettably common) spelling of kluge (US). These two words have been confused in American usage since the early 1960s, and widely confounded in Great Britain since the end of World War II.

2. A crock that works. (A long-ago "Datamation" article by Jackson Granholme similarly said: "An ill-assorted collection of poorly matching parts, forming a distressing whole.")


3. To use a kludge to get around a problem. "I've kludged around it for now, but I'll fix it up properly later."

[This word appears to have derived from Scots `kludge' or `kludgie' for a common toilet, via British military slang. It apparently became confused with U.S. kluge during or after World War II; some Britons from that era use both words in definably different ways, but kluge is now uncommon in Great Britain. `Kludge' in Commonwealth hackish differs in meaning from `kluge' in that it lacks the positive senses; a kludge is something no Commonwealth hacker wants to be associated too closely with. Also, `kludge' is more widely known in British mainstream slang than `kluge' is in the U.S.]

"Sega may be in the most difficult position of all. Although it has the advantage of having exclusive access to the games it develops for its huge arcade business, many gamers dismiss the machine as a kludge." Leslie Helm, Game Giants Are Scoring on the Rebound, Los Angeles Times, Dec 9, 1996.

This week's theme: words from the hackers' jargon.


If pleasures are greatest in anticipation, just remember that this is also true of trouble. -Elbert Hubbard, author, editor, printer (1856-1915)

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