- a quick, sharp pull, thrust, twist, throw, or the like; a sudden movement: The train started with a jerk.
- a spasmodic, usually involuntary, muscular movement, as the reflex action of pulling the hand away from a flame.
- any sudden, quick movement of the body, as in dodging something.
- Slang. a contemptibly naive, fatuous, foolish, or inconsequential person.
- (in weightlifting) the raising of a weight from shoulder height to above the head by straightening the arms.
- jerks, British Informal. physical jerks.
- a dance, deriving from the twist, in which the dancers alternately thrust out their pelvises and their shoulders.
- the jerks, paroxysms or violent spasmodic muscular movements, as resulting from excitement evoked by some religious services.
- to pull, twist, move, thrust, or throw with a quick, suddenly arrested motion: She jerked the child by the hand.
- to utter in a broken, spasmodic way.
- Informal. to prepare, dispense, and serve (sodas, ice cream, etc.) at a soda fountain.
- to give a jerk or jerks.
- to move with a quick, sharp motion; move spasmodically.
- to talk in a broken, spasmodic way.
- Informal. to work as a soda jerk.
- to dance the jerk.
- jerk off, Slang: Vulgar. to masturbate.
Origin of jerk1
- 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 jerk2
Examples from the Web for jerking
And he brought the mare to a halt by jerking the rope around her neck.Way of the Lawless
"But that is a real baby in there," he said, jerking an elbow toward the other room.The Yates Pride
Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
"All gettee out," he said, jerking his thumb in the direction of the court of mystery.The Monster Men
Edgar Rice Burroughs
He knew he was falling, jerking down as the parachute ripped on the boughs.Raiders Invisible
Desmond Winter Hall
And, jerking his head back towards the room behind him, "Guv'nor's got it now."The Burning Spear
- to move or cause to move with an irregular or spasmodic motion
- to throw, twist, pull, or push (something) abruptly or spasmodically
- (tr often foll by out) to utter (words, sounds, etc) in a spasmodic, abrupt, or breathless manner
- an abrupt or spasmodic movement
- an irregular jolting motionthe car moved with a jerk
- Also called: physical jerks (plural) British informal physical exercises
- (plural) US a slang word for chorea
- slang, mainly US and Canadian a person regarded with contempt, esp a stupid or ignorant person
- 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 and History for jerking
"to pull," 1540s, "to lash, strike as with a whip," of uncertain origin, perhaps echoic. Related: Jerked; jerking.
"tedious and ineffectual person," 1935 (the lyric in "Big Rock Candy Mountain" apparently is "Where they hung the Turk [not jerk] that invented work"), American English carnival slang, of uncertain origin. Perhaps from jerkwater town (1878), where a steam locomotive crew had to take on boiler water from a trough or a creek because there was no water tank [Barnhart, OED]. This led 1890s to an adjectival use of jerk as "inferior, insignificant." Alternatively, or influenced by, verbal phrase jerk off "masturbate" [Rawson].
1550s, "stroke of a whip," from jerk (v.1). Sense of "sudden sharp pull or twist" first recorded 1570s. Meaning "involuntary spasmodic movement of limbs or features" first recorded 1805. As the name of a popular dance, it is attested from 1966. Sense in soda jerk attested from 1883, from the pulling motion required to work the taps.
as a method of preserving meat, 1707, American English, from American Spanish carquear, from charqui (see jerky). Related: Jerked.
- 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.