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knee-jerk

[nee-jurk] /ˈniˌdʒɜrk/
adjective
1.
of or relating to a knee-jerk.
2.
Informal. reacting according to a certain habitual manner; unthinking:
a knee-jerk liberal.
Origin
1895-1900
1895-1900
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for kneejerk

knee jerk

noun
1.
(physiol) Also called patellar reflex. an outward reflex kick of the lower leg caused by a sharp tap on the quadriceps tendon just below the patella
modifier
2.
made or occurring as a predictable and automatic response, without thought: kneejerk support
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 kneejerk

knee-jerk

n.

patellar reflex, neurological phenomenon discovered and named 1876; the figurative use appeared soon after the phrase was coined.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for kneejerk

knee-jerk

modifier

: one more gesture to the knee-jerk hawks in the Congress/ Yet McDonald is no mere knee-jerk critic of the evangelicals

noun
  1. A reflexlike action or response: Being nasty to women is a knee-jerk with him (1958+)
  2. A person who reacts with a reflexlike response: a seventy-year old knee-jerk best remembered for castigating the Reverend Bill Moyers for dancing the frug in the White House (1958+)
verb

: We need less kneejerking on both sides in these arguments about the environment (1980s+)

[fr the patellar reflex, described as knee jerk by 1876]


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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