from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To give a sudden quick thrust, push, pull, or twist to.
  • transitive v. To throw or toss with a quick abrupt motion.
  • transitive v. To utter abruptly or sharply: jerked out the answer.
  • transitive v. To make and serve (ice-cream sodas, for example) at a soda fountain.
  • transitive v. Sports To press (a weight) overhead from shoulder height in a quick motion.
  • intransitive v. To move in sudden abrupt motions; jolt: The train jerked forward.
  • intransitive v. To make spasmodic motions: My legs jerked from fatigue.
  • n. A sudden abrupt motion, such as a yank or twist.
  • n. A jolting or lurching motion.
  • n. Physiology A sudden reflexive or spasmodic muscular movement.
  • n. Involuntary convulsive twitching often resulting from excitement. Often used with the.
  • n. Slang A foolish, rude, or contemptible person.
  • n. Sports A lift in which the weight is heaved overhead from shoulder height with a quick motion.
  • jerk off Vulgar Slang To masturbate.
  • jerk around To take unfair advantage of, deceive, or manipulate.
  • transitive v. To cut (meat) into long strips and dry in the sun or cure by exposing to smoke.
  • adj. Being or relating to a method of barbecuing meat that has been seasoned and wrapped in leaves of the allspice tree: jerk chicken; jerk pork.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A sudden, often uncontrolled movement, especially of the body.
  • n. A quick, often unpleasant tug or shake.
  • n. A dull or stupid person.
  • n. A person with unlikable or obnoxious qualities and behavior, typically mean, self-centered, or disagreeable.
  • n. The rate of change in acceleration with respect to time.
  • n. A soda jerk.
  • n. A lift in which the weight is taken with a quick motion from shoulder height to a position above the head with arms fully extended and held there for a brief time.
  • v. To make a sudden uncontrolled movement.
  • v. To give a quick, often unpleasant tug or shake.
  • v. To masturbate.
  • v. To beat, to hit.
  • v. To throw.
  • v. To lift using a jerk.
  • n. A rich, spicy Jamaican marinade
  • n. Meat cured by jerking; charqui.
  • v. To cure (meat) by cutting it into strips and drying it, originally in the sun.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A short, sudden pull, thrust, push, twitch, jolt, shake, or similar motion.
  • n. A sudden start or spring.
  • n. A foolish, stupid, or otherwise contemptible person.
  • n. The lifting of a weight, in a single rapid motion, from shoulder height until the arms are outstretched above the head; distinguished from press in that the motion in a jerk is more rapid, and the body may be moved under the weight to assist completion of the movement.
  • n. Calisthenic exercises, such as push-ups or deep knee bends; also called physical jerks.
  • intransitive v. To make a sudden motion; to move with a start, or by starts.
  • intransitive v. To flout with contempt.
  • transitive v. To cut into long slices or strips and dry in the sun. See charqui.
  • transitive v. To beat; to strike.
  • transitive v. To give a quick and suddenly arrested thrust, push, pull, or twist, to; to yerk
  • transitive v. To throw with a quick and suddenly arrested motion of the hand.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To strike or beat, as with a whip or rod; strike smartly.
  • To pull or thrust with sudden energy; act upon with a twitching or snatching motion; move with quick, sharp force: of ten with a word or words of direction: as, to jerk open a door; the horse jerked out his heels.
  • To throw with a quick, sharp motion; specifically, to throw with the hand lower than the elbow, with an impulse given by sudden collision of the forearm with the hip: as, to jerk a stone.
  • To make a sudden spasmodic motion; give a start; move twitchingly.
  • To sneer; carp; speak sarcastically.
  • In the English custom-house, to search, as a vessel, for unentered goods.
  • To cure, as meat, especially beef, by cutting into long thin pieces and drying in the sun.
  • n. A short, sharp pull, thrust, or twitch; a sudden throw or toss; a jolt; a twitching or spasmodic motion.
  • n. A sudden spring or bound; a start; a leap; a sally.
  • n. An involuntary spasmodic contraction of a muscle, due to reflex action resulting from a blow or other external stimulus.
  • n. plural The paroxysms or violent spasmodic movements sometimes resulting from excitement in connection with religious services. Specifically called the jerks.
  • n. A sneer; sarcasm.
  • n. Meat cut into strips and cured by drying it in the open air.
  • n. In golf, a stroke in which the club-head, after striking the ball, digs into the ground.
  • n. An abrupt witticism; a sudden sally of wit.
  • n. plural Chorea or tic.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. move with abrupt, seemingly uncontrolled motions
  • v. jump vertically, with legs stiff and back arched
  • v. pull, or move with a sudden movement
  • n. raising a weight from shoulder height to above the head by straightening the arms
  • n. (mechanics) the rate of change of acceleration
  • n. a sudden abrupt pull
  • v. throw or toss with a quick motion
  • n. meat (especially beef) cut in strips and dried in the sun
  • n. a dull stupid fatuous person
  • v. make an uncontrolled, short, jerky motion
  • n. an abrupt spasmodic movement


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Origin unknown.
Back-formation from jerky2.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Probably from Middle English yerk ("sudden motion"), from Old English ġearc ("ready, active, quick"). Compare Old English ġearcian ("to prepare, make ready, procure, furnish, supply"). Related to yare.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From American Spanish charquear, from charqui, from Quechuan echarqui ("strips of dried flesh").



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  • Caribbean jerk.

    November 28, 2009

  • The speed of acceleration, as well as the acceleration of speed.

    More at Distance, speed, acceleration, and time.

    May 13, 2008

  • The mid-1960s saw many dance crazes; one of the most popular ones was a dance called "the jerk." It consisted of holding the arms out in different positions and making thrusting motions with the hips. Though controversial for lewdness at the time, a particularly sexual version of the dance had become popular in Detroit clubs, called the "pimp jerk."

    The Capitols had a hit song called Cool Jerk. It was released on July 2, 1966 and was a smash hit, reaching as high as #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the Billboard R&B charts.

    February 24, 2008

  • Sometimes used by engineers to describe the rate of change in the acceleration of an object. Also used as a unit of rate of change in acceleration equal to a change in acceleration of one foot per second per second in one second: 1 ft/sec3. In this usage, one jerk equals 0.3048 m/s3 or about 0.03108g/sec.

    November 6, 2007