Dictionary.com

jerkwater

[ jurk-waw-ter, -wot-er ]
/ ˈdʒɜrkˌwɔ tər, -ˌwɒt ər /
Save This Word!

adjective
Informal. insignificant and out-of-the-way: a jerkwater town.
(formerly) off the main line: a jerkwater train.
noun
(formerly) a train not running on the main line.
QUIZ
THINGAMABOB OR THINGUMMY: CAN YOU DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THE US AND UK TERMS IN THIS QUIZ?
Do you know the difference between everyday US and UK terminology? Test yourself with this quiz on words that differ across the Atlantic.
Question 1 of 7
In the UK, COTTON CANDY is more commonly known as…

Origin of jerkwater

1875–80, Americanism;jerk1 + water; so called from the jerking (i.e., drawing) of water to fill buckets for supplying a steam locomotive

Words nearby jerkwater

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use jerkwater in a sentence

  • And we can empty that pocket just as well with a little jerkwater outfit like this as we could with a big crew and a real mill.

    The Killer|Stewart Edward White
  • He'd make more dough if he owned the local garage and dealer franchise for one of the automobile companies in some jerkwater town.

    The Common Man|Guy McCord (AKA Dallas McCord Reynolds)
  • They came from Chicago and jerkwater towns in Nebraska, from farms and steel mills, from the stage and the pulpit.

    Land of the Burnt Thigh|Edith Eudora Kohl
  • He's never been out of a jerkwater burg in his life, hardly.

    Free Air|Sinclair Lewis

British Dictionary definitions for jerkwater

jerkwater
/ (ˈdʒɜːkˌwɔːtə) /

adjective
US and Canadian slang inferior and insignificanta jerkwater town

Word Origin for jerkwater

C19: originally referring to railway locomotives for which water was taken on in buckets from streams along the route
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
FEEDBACK