[ jurk-waw-ter, -wot-er ]
/ ˈdʒɜrkˌwɔ tər, -ˌwɒt ər /


Informal. insignificant and out-of-the-way: a jerkwater town.
(formerly) off the main line: a jerkwater train.


(formerly) a train not running on the main line.


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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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for jerkwater

  • He's never been out of a jerkwater burg in his life, hardly.

    Free Air|Sinclair Lewis
  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for jerkwater

/ (ˈdʒɜːkˌwɔːtə) /


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