In the sentence,

Django encourages beautiful URL design and doesn’t put any cruft in URLs, like .php or .asp.

'cruft' means:

Badly designed, unnecessarily complicated, or unwanted code or software. cruft | Definition of cruft in English by Oxford Dictionaries

Origin 1950s (in the sense ‘rubbish, detritus’): origin unknown.

It's easy to understand whereas difficult to memorize its spelling.

It has no shared parts with its synonyms 'rubbish' and 'detritus'.

Compared with 'craft' to associating it, seems make no sense.

  • Words are what they are. Sometimes they have synonyms which are derived from the same root and so are similar, but often they have synonyms which are not at all similar. Conversely, there are usually words which are similar in form but have no connection or similarity in meaning. What is your question about this one particular word? – Colin Fine Nov 12 '17 at 13:20

"Cruft" or "kruft" is a word which was invented most likely by Harvard and MIT students in the 1950's. It's used in computer programming these days (e.g., in Django). I use it often to refer to old or dead code which should be removed from the codebase. A lot of technical books have been published out of Cambridge, Massachusetts, over the last several decades. I bet the term was popularized in that way. I'm not sure what question you have, if any. You probably don't want to use the word outside of web / computer programming, and I don't think there are any easy ways to memorize its spelling.

See: https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/93930/origin-and-scope-of-cruft

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The word is definitely unrelated to "crafty", and there is no synonym spelled closely. In my 40 years (in North America) I never heard that word, and according to this chart showing the word's historical usage in literature, you don't have to worry about it coming up very often.

cruft usage

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  • It's a modern, technical word used in computer programming. – Ringo Nov 12 '17 at 11:09
  • It made a comeback when it was re-popularized in 1959 by Peter Samson, but the word can be found in books dating back to pre-1600. I wouldn't consider it commonplace by any means, and as you can see here, even whatchamacallit is used considerably more often! – ashleedawg Nov 12 '17 at 11:15
  • Ha, well, I remember the candy bar "Whatchamacallit" from the 80's. It was my favorite. I imagine a simple word like "cruft" would have some usage over time, but has it always meant "rubbish"? – Ringo Nov 12 '17 at 11:33
  • It's interesting that nobody cites any of these 17th or 18th century references. Are they false positives? – Ringo Nov 12 '17 at 11:39
  • Without going into a detailed hunt, here and here are appearances of the word cruft, pre-1800, used in similar meaning. I'm not doubting that some people use it currently, but many "computer words" (including computer have origins that pre-date modern technology.) – ashleedawg Nov 12 '17 at 11:53

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