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Origin unknown. Is it possible that the non Spanish-speaking New Orleans-based longshoremen, referring to scrapped autos circa 1920 destined for Jalapa, Mexico scrapyards, pronounced the destination on the palettes "jalopies" rather than multiples or possessive of Jalapa?


jalopy (plural jalopies)

  1. An old, dilapidated vehicle.
    • 1979, Jack Kerouac, On the road, page 3:
      Dean is the perfect guy for the road because he was actually born on the road, when his parents were passing through Salt Lake City in 1926, in a jalopy, on their way to Los Angeles.
    • 2003, Terrance Dicks & Barry Letts, Deadly Reunion, chapter 22:
      There's only a rough track and I doubt if that jalopy of yours will make it.