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jerk1

[jurk] /dʒɜrk/
noun
1.
a quick, sharp pull, thrust, twist, throw, or the like; a sudden movement:
The train started with a jerk.
2.
a spasmodic, usually involuntary, muscular movement, as the reflex action of pulling the hand away from a flame.
3.
any sudden, quick movement of the body, as in dodging something.
4.
Slang. a contemptibly naive, fatuous, foolish, or inconsequential person.
5.
(in weightlifting) the raising of a weight from shoulder height to above the head by straightening the arms.
6.
jerks, British Informal. physical jerks.
7.
a dance, deriving from the twist, in which the dancers alternately thrust out their pelvises and their shoulders.
8.
the jerks, paroxysms or violent spasmodic muscular movements, as resulting from excitement evoked by some religious services.
verb (used with object)
9.
to pull, twist, move, thrust, or throw with a quick, suddenly arrested motion:
She jerked the child by the hand.
10.
to utter in a broken, spasmodic way.
11.
Informal. to prepare, dispense, and serve (sodas, ice cream, etc.) at a soda fountain.
verb (used without object)
12.
to give a jerk or jerks.
13.
to move with a quick, sharp motion; move spasmodically.
14.
to talk in a broken, spasmodic way.
15.
Informal. to work as a soda jerk.
16.
to dance the jerk.
Verb phrases
17.
jerk off, Slang: Vulgar. to masturbate.
Origin
1540-1550
1540-50; 1935-40 for def 4; perhaps dialectal variant of yerk to draw stitches tight (shoemaker's term), thus making the shoe ready to wear, Old English gearcian to prepare, make ready
Related forms
jerker, noun
jerkingly, adverb

jerk2

[jurk] /dʒɜrk/
verb (used with object)
1.
to preserve (meat, especially beef) by cutting in strips and curing by drying in the sun.
adjective
2.
being or containing a spicy seasoning mixture flavored with allspice, used especially in Jamaican cooking:
jerk sauce.
3.
prepared with jerk flavorings, especially by barbecuing or grilling:
jerk chicken.
Origin
1700-10; back formation from jerky2
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for jerk

jerk1

/dʒɜːk/
verb
1.
to move or cause to move with an irregular or spasmodic motion
2.
to throw, twist, pull, or push (something) abruptly or spasmodically
3.
(transitive) often foll by out. to utter (words, sounds, etc) in a spasmodic, abrupt, or breathless manner
noun
4.
an abrupt or spasmodic movement
5.
an irregular jolting motion the car moved with a jerk
6.
(pl) (Brit, informal) Also called physical jerks. physical exercises
7.
(pl) (US) a slang word for chorea
8.
(slang, mainly US & Canadian) a person regarded with contempt, esp a stupid or ignorant person
Derived Forms
jerker, noun
jerking, adjective, noun
Word Origin
C16: probably variant of yerk to pull stitches tight in making a shoe; compare Old English gearcian to make ready

jerk2

/dʒɜːk/
verb (transitive)
1.
to preserve (venison, beef, etc) by cutting into thin strips and curing by drying in the sun
noun
2.
Also called jerky. jerked meat, esp beef
Word Origin
C18: back formation from jerky, from charqui
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
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Word Origin and History for jerk
jerk
1550, "to lash, strike as with a whip," of uncertain origin, perhaps echoic. Noun sense of "sudden sharp pull or twist" first recorded 1575. 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.
jerk
1935, "tedious and ineffectual person," Amer.Eng. carnival slang, 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. This led 1890s to an adj. use of jerk as "inferior, insignificant." Probably also infl. by verb jerk off, slang for "perform male masturbation" (first recorded 1916). Jerk off (n.) as an emphatic form of jerk (n.) first attested 1968.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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jerk in Medicine

jerk 1 (jûrk)
v. jerked, jerk·ing, jerks
To make spasmodic motions. n.

  1. A sudden reflexive or spasmodic muscular movement. See deep reflex.

  2. jerks Involuntary convulsive twitching often resulting from excitement. Often used with the.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for jerk

jerk

modifier

: a couple of jerk wops

noun
  1. A short branch railroad line: a small ''jerk'' with only two locals a day (1892+)
  2. A short ride (1920s+ Cabdrivers)
  3. A tedious and ineffectual person, esp a man; fool; ninny; ass; boob, turkey: Jeez, what a jerk! (Carnival 1935+)
  4. A contemptible and obnoxious person, esp a man; asshole, bastard: Dr Johnson admired Goldsmith's literary talent, although he considered him a jerk/ A jerk not only bores you, but pats you on the shoulder as he does so (1935+)
  5. soda jerk (1923+)
verb

jerk off (1940s+)

Related Terms

circle jerk, knee-jerk, pull someone's chain

[the derogatory term comes fr jerk off, ''masturbate''; the form soda jerker is found by 1883]


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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