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Jiggery-pokery

Jiggery-pokery is a British English term that is not well known in the United States. We will look at the meaning of the term jiggery-pokery, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

Jiggery-pokery describes behavior that is underhanded or deceitful. The term got some notice in the United States in 2015 when Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia used it to describe a decision to allow health care subsidies nationwide, a decision he dissented with. Jiggery-pokery first appeared in the late 1800s and is probably derived from the seventeenth-century Scottish term joukery-pawkery, which was a combination of the word jouk which meant to dodge, to twist one’s body in order to avoid a blow or to skulk about, and pawky which meant shrewd or sly. Despite Justice Scalia’s artful use of the term jiggery-pokery, it is extremely seldom used in the United States and is for the most part, unknown.


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Examples

The big story was supposed to be Sir Mo Farah’s first win since becoming a Knight of the Realm, but that was soon overtaken, as was he, by political jiggery-pokery. (The Belfast Telegram)

Uefa can jiggery-pokery all they want when it comes to FFP but the simplest truth is that football is booming because football on TV is booming. (The Irish Times)

Wright, who hair sculptures and psychedelic wardrobe were already a perfect fit for the colour of Alexandra Palace’s annual fancy-dress convention, even gets the dancing girls to join in with his jiggery pokery. (The Mirror)

Whether it’s PwC’s failure to spot jiggery-pokery at Tesco, EY’s tax advice for Google, Facebook and Amazon or investigations into KPMG’s audit of HBOS, accountancy firms and their misdemeanours are rarely out of the spotlight. (The Evening Standard)

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