These expressions are new to me, and I've had a hard time finding anything on Internet about them. These examples, I think, give a hint of the meaning of "close enough for jazz." it means "not perfect but close or similar enough in quality to the target to be acceptable."
"Close Enough for Jazz" is also the name of a song written by Van Morrison,
"”I do get it - 'twas a jibe, a joke, something better than sarcasm, falling short of true wit, but close enough for jazz. Don't worry - there's little chance ...
"”Graham's site does not use a conventional blog structure but it's close enough for jazz. It's not so much that geeks are inheriting Google but that famous ...
"”So -- not what you'd call a real benchmark, but close enough for jazz as they say. # timex ./reg_test_or.pl tmp.txt real 2.51 user 2.08 sys 0.03 # timex . ...
That's not entirely true, but it's close enough for jazz. True to form, I have put off writing my entrance essay for the UofO until the very last minute. ...
"Close enough for government work" seems to mean the reverse: an ironic way of saying "Inferior or shoddy enough in [some features] to be suitable for government work." This kind of comment reflects the speaker's low opinion of the quality of government workers' customary work habits.
i finally found these clues to its use on the group alt.usage.english:
http://groups.google.com/group/alt.usage.english/tree/b...%2F2000-01%3F&>In article <3871FB36.2277D...@ppp.kornet21.net>, Meeseo Paik
>> Text:...Many of my friends who have worked in government tell me of
>> their culture: indifference, tolerance of shoddiness("close enough for
>> government work"), punching out a 5:00....etc.
>> Question: "close enough for government work" is an idiomatic phrase that
>> has a specific meaning? if then, what's the meaning of it?
>> "close" means near/akin or stingy/shoddy?
>Yes, "close enough for government work" is an idiom. "Close enough"
>means "sufficient." The idea is that governments contract for work for a
>set time. The contractor is assured of work for a year. So the work's
>quality is not carefully monitored. I have also heard "good enough for
>This idiom drives my friends who work in government crazy.
>In your quote above, you have "punching out a 5:00" -- that should be
>"punching out *at* 5:00", and speaking as a US Midwesterner, I see
>nothing wrong with it. (First shift is 7:30 am to 4:30 pm or 7:00 am to
>5:00 pm, depending on how long the lunch break is.)
Way before I heard "... government work" we used "close enough for
folk music" or "close enough for jazz", with the analogy being to
tuning musical instruments.
Then I found this related citation:
You aren't building a d*****d piano. When framing a house or doing any other rough carpentry, this meant that the item to be installed was close enough. After working with him awhile, I understood the sentence to mean, "Quit trying to get (whatever) exactly right. It's close enough." The sentence pretty much means the same thing as "Close enough for government work;" Or, "Close enough for the girls I go with.
So this one is the sarcastic reverse of "close enough for jazz."
I can't resist adding this one, as a freebie:
Totally unrelated, but more familiar to mainstream speakers, is this one, which contains elements from this question as well as from the previous one about Freud and his "cigar' comment:
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition. 2002.
Close, but no cigar
"Even a near miss is still a miss. The saying probably originated with carnival contests in which a cigar was the prize for hitting a target."