Nearby words

  1. jeri,
  2. jericho,
  3. jerid,
  4. jeritza,
  5. jeritza, maria,
  6. jerk around,
  7. jerk off,
  8. jerk-off,
  9. jerkin,
  10. jerkinhead

Origin of jerk

1540–50; 1935–40 for def 4; perhaps dialectal variant of yerk to draw stitches tight (shoemaker's term), thus making the shoe ready to wear, Old English gearcian to prepare, make ready

Related formsjerk·er, nounjerk·ing·ly, adverb


[ jurk ]
/ dʒɜrk /

verb (used with object)

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 jerk

First recorded in 1700–10; back formation from jerky2

physical jerks

plural noun British.

physical conditioning exercises, as push-ups and knee bends.
Also called jerks. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for jerk

British Dictionary definitions for jerk


/ (dʒɜːk) /



Derived Formsjerker, 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

verb (tr)

to preserve (venison, beef, etc) by cutting into thin strips and curing by drying in the sun


Also called: jerky jerked meat, esp beef

Word Origin for jerk

C18: back formation from jerky, from charqui

physical jerks

pl n

British informal See jerk 1 (def. 6)
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

Word Origin and History for jerk
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for jerk


[ jûrk ]


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.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.