• synonyms


  1. a close-fitting jacket or short coat, usually sleeveless, as one of leather worn in the 16th and 17th centuries.
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Origin of jerkin

First recorded in 1510–20; origin uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for jerkin

Historical Examples

  • This book Peter thrust away within his jerkin to study at his leisure.

    Fair Margaret

    H. Rider Haggard

  • So, throwing it from him, he brushed the crumbs from his jerkin.

  • Sim had crept up, and, standing behind Ralph, was plucking at his jerkin.

  • He was plainly dressed, and wore a jerkin of leather and long boots.

    The Shame of Motley

    Raphael Sabatini

  • But every man wore a shirt of mail under his doublet or jerkin.

    The Strolling Saint

    Raphael Sabatini

British Dictionary definitions for jerkin


  1. a sleeveless and collarless short jacket worn by men or women
  2. a man's sleeveless and collarless fitted jacket, often made of leather, worn in the 16th and 17th centuries
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Word Origin

C16: of unknown origin
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 jerkin


1510s, of uncertain origin, perhaps related to Dutch jurk "a frock," but this is a modern word, itself of unknown origin, and the initial consonant presents difficulties (Dutch -j- typically becomes English -y-).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper