Arguably from the German : klug or kluge —
smart, clever, sharp, judicious, wise, witty, intelligent; understanding, sensible, balanced; cleverly, wisely, intelligently, judiciously, smartly
In English, the word has come to be defined roughly as:
A kludge (or kluge) (/klʌdʒ/, /kluːʒ/, /kluːdʒ/) is a workaround or quick-and-dirty solution that is clumsy, inelegant, inefficient, difficult to extend and hard to maintain.
Today “kludge” forms one of the most beloved words in design terminology, and it stands ready for handy application to the work of anyone who gins up 110-volt circuitry to plug into the 220 VAC source. The building of a Kludge, however, is not work for amateurs. There is a certain, indefinable, masochistic finesse that must go into true Kludge building. The professional can spot it instantly. The amateur may readily presume that “that’s the way computers are”.
I have always used the name with some sense of irony. I can certainly hack together a quick fix but, prefer a more elegant end result for my lasting work. Call it the difference between aerospace engineering and good ole fashioned farmers’ engineering.
A short story about how to know the difference.