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[from the German 'klug', clever]

1. n. A Rube Goldberg (or Heath Robinson) device, whether in hardware or software. (A long-ago 'Datamation' article by Jackson Granholme said:

"An ill-assorted collection of poorly matching parts, forming a distressing whole.")

2. n. A clever programming trick intended to solve a particular nasty case in an expedient, if not clear, manner. Often used to repair bugs. Often involves {ad-hockery} and verges on being a crock. In fact, the TMRC Dictionary defined 'kludge' as "a crock that works".

3. n. Something that works for the wrong reason.

4. vt. To insert a kluge into a program.

"I've kluged this routine to get around that weird bug, but there's probably a better way."

5. [WPI] n. A feature that is implemented in a rude manner.

Nowadays this term is often encountered in the variant spelling 'kludge'. Reports from old farts are consistent that 'kluge' was the original spelling, and that 'kludge' arose by mutation sometime in the early 1970s. Some people who encountered the word first in print or on-line jumped to the reasonable but incorrect conclusion that the word should be pronounced /kluhj/ (rhyming with 'sludge'). The result of this tangled history is a mess; in 1991, many (perhaps even most) hackers pronounce the word correctly as /klooj/ but spell it incorrectly as 'kludge' (compare the pronunciation drift of mung). Some observers consider this appropriate in view of its meaning.