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See more synonyms for jerky on Thesaurus.com
adjective, jerk·i·er, jerk·i·est.
  1. characterized by jerks or sudden starts; spasmodic.
  2. Slang. silly; foolish; stupid; ridiculous.
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Origin of jerky1

First recorded in 1855–60; jerk1 + -y1
Related formsjerk·i·ly, adverbjerk·i·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for jerkily

Historical Examples

  • "I need to know something about the pigment patches," he said jerkily.

    Pariah Planet

    Murray Leinster

  • I pushed with all my might and, slowly and jerkily, the dingy slid off the shoal.

    The Rise of Roscoe Paine

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • “Kicking up a racket in there,” he said jerkily, indicating the parlour.

  • Jerkily he came to the realization that the girl had ceased speaking.

    The Cross-Cut

    Courtney Ryley Cooper

  • Then he staggered back and jerkily brought his arm across his eyes.

    A Virginia Scout

    Hugh Pendexter

British Dictionary definitions for jerkily


adjective jerkier or jerkiest
  1. characterized by jerks; spasmodic
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Derived Formsjerkily, adverbjerkiness, noun


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



1850, American English, from American Spanish charqui "jerked meat," from Quechua (Inca) ch'arki "dried flesh."

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"characterized by jerks," 1858, from jerk (v.1) + -y (2). Related: Jerkily; jerkiness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper