• synonyms


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 jerkiness

Historical Examples

  • For an instant there was a jerkiness to the voice, and then it droned on resonantly again.

    The Weavers, Complete

    Gilbert Parker

  • There is no tremor, no jerkiness, simply a loss of the sense of position.

  • The style was to some extent disfigured by jerkiness and mannered tricks.

  • How much stiffness and jerkiness exasperated him may be judged from what Madame Zaleska related to M. Kleczynski.

  • The four-bar lengths send the music along with a swing very different from the jerkiness of contemporary opera music.

    Richard Wagner

    John F. Runciman

British Dictionary definitions for jerkiness


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 jerkiness



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