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knee-jerk reflex

knee-jerk reflex in Medicine

knee-jerk reflex n.
See patellar reflex.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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knee-jerk reflex in Culture

knee-jerk reflex definition


A sudden involuntary forward movement of the lower leg that can be produced by a firm tap to the tendon located just below the kneecap.

Note: The term is loosely applied to any response or belief that is automatic rather than thoughtful. In this sense, it is usually a term of reproach: “Smith is a knee-jerk liberal.”
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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