on the jar


3 [jahr]
Archaic. a turn or turning.
on the jar, partly opened; ajar: The window was on the jar.

1665–75; variant of char3, chare; cf. ajar2

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World English Dictionary
jar1 (dʒɑː)
1.  a wide-mouthed container that is usually cylindrical, made of glass or earthenware, and without handles
2.  Also: jarful the contents or quantity contained in a jar
3.  informal (Brit) a glass of alcoholic drink, esp beer: to have a jar with someone
4.  obsolete a measure of electrical capacitance
[C16: from Old French jarre, from Old Provençal jarra, from Arabic jarrah large earthen vessel]

jar2 (dʒɑː)
vb , jars, jarring, jarred
1.  to vibrate or cause to vibrate
2.  to make or cause to make a harsh discordant sound
3.  (often foll by on) to have a disturbing or painful effect (on the nerves, mind, etc)
4.  (intr) to disagree; clash
5.  a jolt or shock
6.  a harsh discordant sound
[C16: probably of imitative origin; compare Old English cearran to creak]

jar3 (dʒɑː)
on a jar, on the jar (of a door) slightly open; ajar
[C17 (in the sense: turn): from earlier char, from Old English cierran to turn; see ajar1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

"to make a harsh, grating sound," 1526, usually said to be echoic or imitative, but no one explains how, or of what. Fig. sense of "have an unpleasant effect on" is from 1538.

"cylindrical vessel," 1421, possibly from M.Fr. jarre "liquid measure" (smaller than a barrel), from Prov. jarra, from Arabic jarrah "earthen water vessel" (whence also Sp. jarra, It. giarra).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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