What Is The Meaning Of “Jake Legged”

You may have heard the term “Jack legged” before and found yourself wondering about a similar term, “Jake legged”.  “Jake-legged” has been said to be an American term that stemmed from “Jack-legged”, both terms are used to describe someone who is not capable of doing a job the right way.  Contrary to this belief, this term is actually used to describe an illness caused by adulterated alcohol.

History Of “Jake Legged”

Interestingly, “Jake-legged” can also indicate a type of paralysis caused by drinking improperly made alcohol, or alcohol that has been contaminated.  The history of Jake leg is as such: in 1930 a batch of ginger extract was contaminated.

People who contracted Jake leg developed the “Jake Leg” or “Jake Walk” and oftentimes these victims were not pitied, as many assumed they would’ve never had this health issue if it weren’t for their unhealthy drinking habits.

Evolution Of “Jake Legged”

Nowadays, the term “Jake leg” is rarely used.  Since cases of Jake leg have hardly been encountered, the term’s popularity and knowledge of the term is declining  The meaning sometimes changes, from referring to the illness accompanied by drinking contaminated alcohols and extracts to referring to someone incompetent.