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Origin of jerk

1
First recorded in 1540–50; 1935–40 for def. 4; earlier gi(e)rk, ierke; origin uncertain; perhaps dialectal variant of yerk “to draw stitches tight” (shoemaker's term), thus making the shoe ready to wear, from Old English gearcian “to prepare, make ready”

OTHER WORDS FROM jerk

jerk·er, nounjerk·ing·ly, adverb

Other definitions for jerk (2 of 2)

jerk2
[ jurk ]
/ dʒɜrk /

verb (used with object)
to preserve (meat, especially beef) by cutting in strips and curing by drying in the sun.
adjective
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.
noun

Origin of jerk

2
First recorded in 1700–10; back formation from jerky2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use jerk in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for jerk (1 of 2)

jerk1
/ (dʒɜːk) /

verb
noun

Derived forms of jerk

jerker, nounjerking, adjective, noun

Word Origin for jerk

C16: probably variant of yerk to pull stitches tight in making a shoe; compare Old English gearcian to make ready

British Dictionary definitions for jerk (2 of 2)

jerk2
/ (dʒɜːk) /

verb (tr)
to preserve (venison, beef, etc) by cutting into thin strips and curing by drying in the sun
noun
Also called: jerky jerked meat, esp beef

Word Origin for jerk

C18: back formation from jerky, from charqui
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
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