I'm looking for a word for something that is of such bad design, it shouldn't really work, but does, just a hastily assembled production. The word should fit for a company, or an event.

I'm not looking for synonyms of 'bad quality', such as 'faulty' or 'imperfect', but more like a word that sounds made up, and can be, but it should signal that this is some sketchy stuff.

I will try to come up with examples, but I'm having a hard time, but like.. hackyslack (could fly for a LAN event maybe)

a comment from @Cardinal phrased it better:

I think you may want to search for compounds similar to "tawdry design(ed)" or "poor(ly) design(ed)"

and that sounds good, but I have no idea how to search for this, so help is appriciated

  • Do you want an adjective or a noun or a verb/participle? Do you want something that designates poor design or hasty improvisation? Could you give us a sentence in which you want to use it? Sep 20, 2016 at 10:45
  • @StoneyB I want it to be a name, could be the name of a product, event or company, but it should signal untrustworthiness
    – sch
    Sep 20, 2016 at 10:57
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    Makeshift, make-do, kludge, stopgap,quick and dirty, jury-rigged, jerry-built, ramshackle, slipshod -- follow up those in any online thesaurus. Sep 20, 2016 at 11:04
  • 1
    I think you may want to search for compounds similar to "tawdry design(ed)" or "poor(ly) design(ed)" , .... .
    – Cardinal
    Sep 20, 2016 at 11:12
  • 1
    Try the new Stopgap® app from Quick and Dirty Technologies, or Slipshod Inc. releases MakeDo 3.0 or Register for the Kludge Corporation annual 'Ramshackle' sales conference? Sep 20, 2016 at 12:33

2 Answers 2


Something that is far from optimal, either because it was assembled in haste and was not fully thought out, or because it is at hand and is being made to serve a purpose for which it is barely suitable, the real thing being unavailable, is said to be makeshift.

(see StoneyB's comment)

When we use such a thing, we say that it'll do or that we are making do or that we are improvising.

Something that is poorly made and/or poorly designed, or which looks unsafe to use, can be called a contraption.

Things can be made from the components of other things, repurposed. That kind of improvistation can be called bricolage.

But if you're looking for the name of a new product quickly thrown together, a new app, say, or for the name of the company that is making it, I'd go with Slapdash™.

  • 2
    I guess it's time to take to take off the gloves. Anonymous downvoters, grow a pair. Add a reason.
    – TimR
    Sep 20, 2016 at 12:35
  • these are all great words, I'll have to do some brainstorming around these, and see what I come up with
    – sch
    Sep 21, 2016 at 4:47

A common colloquialism for this, in British English if not elsewhere is Heath Robinson.

A Heath Robinson contraption is a machine of bizarre design, patched together and works more by luck than judgment.

The phrase comes from the cartoonist William Heath Robinson, who famously drew ludicrous machines of great complexity.

It is often used as an adjective to described something created from a rough sketch on the back of an envelope, with no coherent design.

Self-Operating Napkin

  • In American English this is a Rube Goldberg machine, named after an American Cartoonist. In fact, the image you used here is on the Wikipedia page for Rube Goldberg, but not Heath Robinson. ;) Sep 20, 2016 at 21:55
  • maybe It'd be cool to somehow 'pay tribute' to Heath/Goldberg with a name like heathcrack or ruberack
    – sch
    Sep 21, 2016 at 4:49

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