[ jur-kee ]
See synonyms for jerky on
adjective,jerk·i·er, jerk·i·est.
  1. characterized by jerks or sudden starts; spasmodic.

  2. Slang. silly; foolish; stupid; ridiculous.

Origin of jerky

First recorded in 1855–60; jerk1 + -y1

Other words from jerky

  • jerk·i·ly, adverb
  • jerk·i·ness, noun

Words Nearby jerky

Other definitions for jerky (2 of 2)

[ jur-kee ]

  1. meat, especially beef, that has been cut in strips and preserved by drying in the sun; jerked meat.

Origin of jerky

1840–50, Americanism; alteration of charqui Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use jerky in a sentence

  • Each sentence came as if torn piecemeal from his unwilling tongue; short, jerky phrases, conceived in pain and delivered in agony.

    Raw Gold | Bertrand W. Sinclair
  • Nervous and jerky he walked to the center of the stage, and raised his hand begging silence.

    The Fifth String   | John Philip Sousa
  • With jerky motions the black monster drew down, the water rippling and gurgling along the sides.

    Menotah | Ernest G. Henham
  • He knocked the ashes from his cigar and threw out his arms with one of his odd, jerky gestures.

    A Hoosier Chronicle | Meredith Nicholson
  • He spoke in very fair language, short, jerky sentences, but well-chosen words.

    The Hills and the Vale | Richard Jefferies

British Dictionary definitions for jerky (1 of 2)


/ (ˈdʒɜːkɪ) /

adjectivejerkier or jerkiest
  1. characterized by jerks; spasmodic

Derived forms of jerky

  • jerkily, adverb
  • jerkiness, noun

British Dictionary definitions for jerky (2 of 2)


/ (ˈdʒɜːkɪ) /

  1. another word for jerk 2 (def. 2)

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012