I was wondering what is the AE idiom / common verb which is normally used when you want to indicate that someone is intentionally skipping some needed steps in doing something and works or acts so quickly, perfunctorily and “carelessly” that it ends up getting a bad / clumsy result just out of laziness or in order to do it as easily as it’s possible or to save time or money.

I have found the following idiom and phrasal verbs, but I have no idea if they are all indicative of the matter in my question.

Additionally, do they mean the same thing?

Finally, I need to know which one is the most common option in the case I tried to explain?


1. The builders really botched up this room.
2. The builders really bungled up this room.
3. The builders really cut corners on this room.

  • Would you mind correcting your question? "I was wondering what the AE idiom is for X." If you correct your question I will remove this. Thanks. Also, your examples have nothing to do with those three words you seem to be asking about. [to end up being bad].
    – Lambie
    Commented May 7, 2021 at 16:58
  • 2
    An adjective that is often used in this situation is slapdash. "The builders did a slapdash job on this room." Commented May 7, 2021 at 17:22

2 Answers 2


In your examples 1 and 2, we would normally omit the "up" (and, thanks @Lambie, "bungle" should take a more specific argument):

  1. The builders really botched this room.
  2. The builders really bungled the job on this room.

In British English at least, these mean pretty much the same thing, and it's not what you're looking for. It means they did a bad job, but it doesn't imply that the bad job was caused by doing it quickly.

  1. The builders really cut corners on this room.

This means that they did a quick, incomplete job, and that it was substandard, although it doesn't necessarily mean that the end result was terrible, only that it was lacking in thoroughness.

In British English we might say

  1. The builders bodged this room

or equivalently

  1. The builders did a bodge job on this room

This suggests that it was deliberately done quickly and the end result was poor. This term is attested in Shakespeare. You can also bodge something not through lack of skill or attention, but because you're in a rush. This page shows the differences between "bodge" and "botch".

I can't find another simple American English phrase equivalent to "bodge". If you are happy using a British English phrase, I'd advise you to go for "bodge". If it must be American English, then "cut corners" may be your best option.

  • 1
    the builders bungled the room? I wouldn't say that. They bungled the job; but not "the wrong".
    – Lambie
    Commented May 7, 2021 at 17:02
  • Fair point, I've modified the example now. Although to my mind, "bungled the room" works fine if you're taking "room" to mean the job, like with the grammar examples where for a waiter, "a sandwich" can mean "a customer who's ordered a sandwich". I'm sure there's a Greek word for this, meta- something probably, but I forget what... Commented May 7, 2021 at 17:08
  • You mean perhaps calling a thing by one of its parts? synecdoche, sort of? Your customer-sandwich thing is funny. :) [caveat: I mean it made me laugh. Someone a while back with poor knowledge of English thought I was insulting them when I said something was funny. So now, I take great precautions.]
    – Lambie
    Commented May 7, 2021 at 17:30
  • Some of these phrases might be misinterpreted in certain circumstances though. To combine two examples given here: "The cook cut corners on this sandwich" could easily be taken literally. i.e.: we might not be talking about an inferior sandwich but merely an octagonal one... Commented May 7, 2021 at 20:39
  • Re: ‘cut corners’, without any modifier it’s just implying that the job was not done thoroughly and completely as you state. With an intensifier (such as ‘really’ or ‘seriously’) though, it usually means something much closer to the general connotation of ‘bodge’ in terms of the result being especially bad. That said, I know a lot of AmE speakers who would understand ‘bodge0 just fine. Commented May 7, 2021 at 21:14

Yes, they are indicative of the matter in your question.

1 and 2 have the same meaning, with more indication of doing a poor job because of incompetence.
3 is similar, with more indication of doing a poor job to save time or money.

That are all very similar, though.

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