close enough for government work

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Unknown. Some claims for origin in World War II, it is claimed that at the time it meant it could pass the most rigorous of standards; however, earliest specific claim of the phrase being used is after 1960, when it was already used in the modern derogatory fashion.

“Government work” is also a term for the manufacture of something on company time for personal use. For example, a custom trailer hitch made at a welding shop for the welder himself on the afternoon shift with no supervisors around is government work. Commonly heard in Ontario, Canada and northeast US.

Adjective[edit]

close enough for government work

  1. (idiomatic, humorous, disparaging, slang) Good enough; not worth the time or effort of perfecting.

Synonyms[edit]