"substitute," 1640s, from neuter of Latin succedaneus "succeeding, acting as substitute" (see succeed). Especially of inferior drugs substituted for better ones. Related: Succedaneous.
also jerk-water, "petty, inferior, insignificant," 1890, earlier in reference to certain railroad trains and lines (1878); in both cases the notion is of a steam locomotive crew having to take on boiler water from a trough or a creek because there was no water tank; see jerk (v.1) + water (n.1). This led to an adjectival use of jerk as "inferior, insignificant;" hence also jerkwater town (1893).
"anything inferior," 1940s, agent noun from clunk (v.), probably in imitation of the sounds made by old machinery. Specific sense of "old car" was in use by 1936.
also Chiante, kind of dry red wine, 1833, from Chianti Mountains of Tuscany, where the wine was made. "[L]oosely applied to various inferior Italian wines" [OED].
"inferior, cheap material," 1962 (in song "Little Boxes" by U.S. political folk-singer Malvina Reynolds, 1900-1978), reduplication of tacky. As an adjective by 1967.