In my language we have an expression that literally translates as: "Straightener for a bender".

The meaning is: When someone did something wrong and someone else is trying to fix it by adding yet another thingy, instead of doing it right directly, they're creating a "straightener for a bender".


  • You see that somebody was annoyed by the door with the automatic door closer, so they put in a door stopper. Well, that's a nice "straightener for a bender".
  • You find in a source code that certain data has been decompressed. You wonder where does the data originate from and you find that right before the call to the decompression function they have been compressed in another function.
  • You are reviewing recurring transactions on several bank accounts you have. And you find out that there is a loop that transfers money from 1st to 2nd, then from 2nd to 3rd and finally from 3rd to 1st bank account.

Can be also used in software process, DIY projects, car repair, pretty much anywhere.

Question is: Is there an expression/idiom to describe that in English?

  • Is the solution (in your idiom) permanent or temporary in nature? It seems you want to maintain the "bent" that needs to be "repaired" in the English equivalent. Is that true?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 5 '18 at 9:51

From the Microsoft website:

When a stopgap solution becomes an undocumented feature some people rely on...

However, this was only a temporary solution.

From Purge, a Booklet of Individual Stop-gap Solutions:

Pharmaceutically, limestone neutralizes or "sweetens" pH acidic waters. The process of adding limestone to acidic rivers is now a standard practice with environmental agencies. Yet, the source of the problem persists; combustion and consumption. We remain resigned to the stop gap solution, 'the bigger the problem, the bigger the pill'"--Artist's website, June 28, 2017

Oxford English Dictionary:

A temporary way of dealing with a problem or satisfying a need.

‘transplants are only a stopgap until more sophisticated alternatives can work’


stopgap (n.)

also stop-gap, 1680s, from stop (v.) + gap (n.); the notion probably being of something that plugs a leak, but it may be in part from gap (n.) in a specific military sense "opening or breach in defenses by which attack may be made (1540s). Also as an adjective from 1680s.

Google Books Ngram Viewer:

stop-gap solution,stopgap solution,stop gap solution

  • 1
    This definitely feels like the closest one to the original meaning. Especially because of the example with the pH of a river. The original meaning does not imply "temporary" (although would be a good idea). But rather suggest that it is fixing effect and not the cause. Jun 13 '18 at 9:01

jury rig (or Jerry rig). TFD

Any makeshift or temporary device, rig, or piece of equipment.

  • That really doesn't address the 'cancelling out' nature essential to the query.
    – Spagirl
    Jun 4 '18 at 14:07
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    I shouldn't have used inverted commas, I apologise, it looked as though I was quoting when I was only trying to add emphasis to my paraphrasing. The part of the question which communicated the sense of cancelling out to me, was: 'When someone did something wrong and someone else is trying to fix it by adding yet another thingy' that sense of adding a thing to counteract another thing is not inherent in jury rig.
    – Spagirl
    Jun 4 '18 at 14:31
  • 1
    @Spagirl a thingy is not of the jerry-rigged world? Appreciate your opinion.
    – lbf
    Jun 4 '18 at 14:34
  • 1
    A thingy might absolutely be of the jerry rigged world, but a thingy that exists purely to counter the action of a pre-existing thingy is not intrinsically indicated by the term. We're talking reciprocating thingy here.
    – Spagirl
    Jun 4 '18 at 14:40

This seems close:

two wrongs don’t make a right

The phrase is the exact opposite of what is mathematically true, that is two negatives make a positive. This is because in behavioural sciences, if a person is yelling and another person responds will yelling then the resultant discussion will not become a silent one. It will in fact be chaotic. The phrase does not advocate accepting the wrong but instead strategically states what would not be the right thing to do in such a situation. While the literary source could not be accurately traced, the phrase is speculated to be around since the early 19th century.

Source: theidioms.com

  • The exposition is mistaken: minus-one plus minus-one equals minus-two, quite trivially. Theautomatic door closing automatically is not wrong, it works correctly as intended. Prying it open may break it though.
    – vectory
    Sep 5 '19 at 17:12
  • @vectory In absence of that conflict though, it simply prunes down to the most optimum solution.
    – peerless
    Sep 6 '19 at 6:20

You should consider fix.



2. an appropriate repair. Do you have a good fix for a leaky faucet?

McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

7. n. a repair made to a computer program. (Computers.) This little fix should make the whole program run faster.

McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Perhaps a band-aid solution:

a temporary solution that does not deal with the cause of a problem

Or a quick fix:

something that seems to be a fast and easy solution to a problem but is in fact not very good or will not last long

  • The door stopper will work indefinitely and as intended, imaginably. It may be a quick-fix, nevertheless. But that's missing the irony (and rhyme) of the quoted idiom. Not saying your answers are wrong.
    – vectory
    Sep 5 '19 at 17:21

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