- a quick, sharp pull, thrust, twist, throw, or the like; a sudden movement: The train started with a jerk.
- a spasmodic, usually involuntary, muscular movement, as the reflex action of pulling the hand away from a flame.
- any sudden, quick movement of the body, as in dodging something.
- Slang. a contemptibly naive, fatuous, foolish, or inconsequential person.
- (in weightlifting) the raising of a weight from shoulder height to above the head by straightening the arms.
- jerks, British Informal. physical jerks.
- a dance, deriving from the twist, in which the dancers alternately thrust out their pelvises and their shoulders.
- the jerks, paroxysms or violent spasmodic muscular movements, as resulting from excitement evoked by some religious services.
- to pull, twist, move, thrust, or throw with a quick, suddenly arrested motion: She jerked the child by the hand.
- to utter in a broken, spasmodic way.
- Informal. to prepare, dispense, and serve (sodas, ice cream, etc.) at a soda fountain.
- to give a jerk or jerks.
- to move with a quick, sharp motion; move spasmodically.
- to talk in a broken, spasmodic way.
- Informal. to work as a soda jerk.
- to dance the jerk.
- jerk off, Slang: Vulgar. to masturbate.
Origin of jerk1
- to preserve (meat, especially beef) by cutting in strips and curing by drying in the sun.
- being or containing a spicy seasoning mixture flavored with allspice, used especially in Jamaican cooking: jerk sauce.
- prepared with jerk flavorings, especially by barbecuing or grilling: jerk chicken.
Origin of jerk2
- physical conditioning exercises, as push-ups and knee bends.
Examples from the Web for jerk
You write a lot about how you were a jerk or a snob when it came to comedy or film.Patton Oswalt on Fighting Conservatives With Satire
January 6, 2015
“Either this or stay home and jerk off,” said one guy when I asked why he came tonight.The Craziest Date Night for Single Jews, Where Mistletoe Is Ditched for Shots
December 26, 2014
You cannot perform or externalize your vanity as overtly as Bieber did without again emphasizing to the world you are a jerk.Justin Bieber's Abs Cannot Save Him
September 10, 2014
If he had a bad experience working with me, I was probably a jerk.Co-Stars Who Hated Each Other: Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams in 'The Notebook' and More
July 4, 2014
So, you know, I think Suey Park falls pretty far on the “jerk” end of the scale.An Ode to Angry Asians: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Suey Park
April 7, 2014
Suddenly she sat up with a jerk, and dashed her hand across her eyes.Grace Harlowe's Return to Overton Campus
Jessie Graham Flower
Suddenly the door is pulled open with a jerk and our enemy leaps in.
Even as he held it up for all of them to see, his limbs began to jerk and stiffen.The Trail Book
As he spoke there was a sudden soft jar and jerk, then the schooner was still.Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates
Being captain of the forecastle, I knew where to find it, and throw it loose at a jerk.Ned Myers
James Fenimore Cooper
- to move or cause to move with an irregular or spasmodic motion
- to throw, twist, pull, or push (something) abruptly or spasmodically
- (tr often foll by out) to utter (words, sounds, etc) in a spasmodic, abrupt, or breathless manner
- an abrupt or spasmodic movement
- an irregular jolting motionthe car moved with a jerk
- Also called: physical jerks (plural) British informal physical exercises
- (plural) US a slang word for chorea
- slang, mainly US and Canadian a person regarded with contempt, esp a stupid or ignorant person
- to preserve (venison, beef, etc) by cutting into thin strips and curing by drying in the sun
- Also called: jerky jerked meat, esp beef
- British informal See jerk 1 (def. 6)
Word Origin and History for jerk
"to pull," 1540s, "to lash, strike as with a whip," of uncertain origin, perhaps echoic. Related: Jerked; jerking.
"tedious and ineffectual person," 1935 (the lyric in "Big Rock Candy Mountain" apparently is "Where they hung the Turk [not jerk] that invented work"), American English carnival slang, of uncertain origin. Perhaps from jerkwater town (1878), where a steam locomotive crew had to take on boiler water from a trough or a creek because there was no water tank [Barnhart, OED]. This led 1890s to an adjectival use of jerk as "inferior, insignificant." Alternatively, or influenced by, verbal phrase jerk off "masturbate" [Rawson].
1550s, "stroke of a whip," from jerk (v.1). Sense of "sudden sharp pull or twist" first recorded 1570s. Meaning "involuntary spasmodic movement of limbs or features" first recorded 1805. As the name of a popular dance, it is attested from 1966. Sense in soda jerk attested from 1883, from the pulling motion required to work the taps.
as a method of preserving meat, 1707, American English, from American Spanish carquear, from charqui (see jerky). Related: Jerked.
- To make spasmodic motions.
- A sudden reflexive or spasmodic muscular movement.deep reflex
- jerks Involuntary convulsive twitching often resulting from excitement. Often used with the.