Origin and scope of “cruft”

I just had to look up “cruft” (jargon for software or hardware that is of poor quality), as used in a comment to an earlier question.

But I can’t find any details of etymology, and I don’t know how often it’s used outside the superfluous source code that has yet to be removed context. Can anyone help?


It’s a made-up word, in a culture where hacking words is a time-honored traditional value. So the etymology itself becomes a matter of competing legends.

One of the reasons why a word stays around instead of being forgotten is because it sounds right. That’s the legend of Phonosemantics, or sound symbolism.

Monosyllabic English words (like, say, stump) can be broken into Assonances (st-, in the case of stump) and Rimes (-əmp).

Many of these word chunks have meaning; for instance, the assonance /kl-/. And in particular, the assonance /kr-/ is a very good phonosemantic match for cruft.

Source : Link , Question Author : FumbleFingers , Answer Author : John Lawler

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