1. a badly assembled collection of parts hastily assembled to serve some particular purpose (often used to refer to computing systems or software that has been badly put together)
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: a badly assembled collection of parts hastily assembled to
serve some particular purpose (often used to refer to
computing systems or software that has been badly put
The Jargon File (version 4.4.7, 29 Dec 2003):
1. /kluhj/ n. 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
2. [TMRC] 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. v. 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.
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (18 March 2015):
/kluhj/ (From the old Scots "kludgie" meaning an
outside toilet) A Scottish engineering term for anything added
in an ad hoc (and possibly unhygenic!) manner. At some point
during the Second World War, Scottish engineers met Americans
and the meaning, spelling and pronunciation of kludge became
confused with that of "kluge".
The spelling "kludge" was apparently popularised by the
"Datamation" cited below which defined it as "An ill-assorted
collection of poorly matching parts, forming a distressing
The result of this tangled history is a mess; in 1993, many
(perhaps even most) hackers pronounce the word /klooj/ but
spell it "kludge" (compare the pronunciation drift of mung).
Some observers consider this appropriate in view of its
["How to Design a Kludge", Jackson Granholme, Datamation,
February 1962, pp. 30-31].