jerk

noun
\ ˈjərk How to pronounce jerk (audio) \

Definition of jerk

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : an annoyingly stupid or foolish person was acting like a jerk
b : an unlikable person especially : one who is cruel, rude, or small-minded a selfish jerk
2 : a single quick motion of short duration a sudden jerk gave the handle a jerk
3a : jolting, bouncing, or thrusting motions
b : a tendency to produce spasmodic motions
4a : an involuntary spasmodic muscular movement due to reflex action
b jerks plural : involuntary twitchings due to nervous excitement
5 : the pushing of a weight from shoulder height to a position overhead : the second phase of the clean and jerk in weight lifting

jerk

verb (1)
jerked; jerking; jerks

Definition of jerk (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to give a quick suddenly arrested push, pull, or twist to jerk a rope
2 : to propel or move with or as if with a quick suddenly arrested motion jerked the door open
3 : to mix and serve (drinks, such as sodas) behind a soda fountain

intransitive verb

1 : to make a sudden spasmodic motion Her hand jerked up suddenly.
2 : to move in short abrupt motions or with frequent jolts

jerk

verb (2)
jerked; jerking; jerks

Definition of jerk (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

: to preserve (meat) in long sun-dried slices

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Other Words from jerk

Verb (1)

jerker noun

Synonyms for jerk

Synonyms: Noun

bastard, beast, bleeder [British], blighter [chiefly British], boor, bounder, bugger, buzzard, cad, chuff, churl, clown, creep, cretin, crud [slang], crumb [slang], cur, dirtbag [slang], dog, fink, heel, hound, joker, louse, lout, pill, rat, rat fink, reptile, rotter, schmuck [slang], scum, scumbag [slang], scuzzball [slang], skunk, sleaze, sleazebag [slang], sleazeball [slang], slime, slimeball [slang], slob, snake, so-and-so, sod [chiefly British], stinkard, stinker, swine, toad, varmint, vermin

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Examples of jerk in a Sentence

Noun

That jerk can't do anything right. Most of the kids are nice, but some are jerks. The dead branch came loose after a few jerks. He felt the jerk of the line as a fish took the bait. The car started with a jerk.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

For many young converts, the path to conservatism begins at a knee-jerk reaction to the contemporary Left: a feeling that its assertions must be wrong, with little understanding of exactly why. Nate Hochman, National Review, "The Intellectual Dark Web’s Quiet Revolution," 5 July 2019 But that’s a knee-jerk face value reaction that doesn’t give this trade merit. oregonlive.com, "Canzano: Why I like the Trail Blazers’ trade for Kent Bazemore," 25 June 2019 The knee-jerk reaction of Alyssa Milano and others calling for a boycott doesn’t help. Jeffrey Fleishman, latimes.com, "Georgia's abortion ban forces political reckoning among TV and film workers," 23 June 2019 There’s sort of the knee-jerk reaction after a crisis to institute standards that are beyond what is needed, and then over time the pendulum settles in the middle. NBC News, "Banks are acing their 'stress tests' — but that's not necessarily a good thing," 21 June 2019 Because usually all those knee-jerk reactions to any news events are wrong. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "What is the meaning of 'redneck'? This unconventional film critic knows the true definition," 21 June 2019 Here’s my theory on the angst, and the reasons go beyond the knee-jerk reactions that permeate around social media. Mark Medina, The Mercury News, "Warriors mailbag: Did the Warriors make the right draft picks?," 21 June 2019 Some cheered for Rickie Fowler, who is widely acknowledged to be the American contingent’s leading young mensch, or for Phil Mickelson, whom many writers privately described as its reigning jerk. Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, "Inside the Cultish Dreamworld of Augusta National," 14 June 2019 Expecting us to wait around for another cats-are-jerks moment isn’t the best way to engage with an audience, no matter how valid that point may be. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Review: More like the ‘Mildly Entertaining Life of Pets 2’," 6 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In the video, Pantaleo can be seen wrapping one arm around Garner's shoulder and the other around his neck before jerking him back and pulling him to the ground. Mark Morales, CNN, "Chants of 'I can't breathe!' erupt as the officer in the Eric Garner case won't face federal charges," 17 July 2019 The 12-minute long clip features a behind-the-scenes look at the iconic Tanner living room and kitchen, the actors and actresses arriving to the studio, and even a few tear-jerking speeches. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'Fuller House' Star Candace Cameron Bure Gets Emotional at First Reading Sans Lori Loughlin," 24 May 2019 At the end of Toy Story 3, the departure of Andy was a tear-jerking goodbye, but the arrival of Bonnie suggested the fun could last forever. David Sims, The Atlantic, "A Plaything Made Out of Trash Is the Real Star of Toy Story 4," 13 June 2019 The result might be a plane that appears to suddenly jerk in midair, rise like a dragon, slow to a relative crawl, or perform some other impossible-looking aerial maneuver. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "China's New Upgrade Makes Its Fighter Jets Wildly Maneuverable," 7 Nov. 2018 Each time the strap connected with flesh, the army cot the boys clung to would jerk and heave. Carol Marbin Miller, miamiherald, "A victim of vile abuse at Florida reform school, he spent his life fighting for justice," 10 July 2018 An employee at the Chicago office jerks his arm unexpectedly. Nara Schoenberg, chicagotribune.com, "5 years and over 300 applications: For those with autism, landing a tech job ‘like winning the lottery’," 11 June 2019 Should kids who love to daydream be jerked back to earth? Laura Turner, Glamour, "The Big Problem With the New Screen Time Guidelines for Kids," 26 Apr. 2019 The tear-jerking trailer, somber music, and family feel already has people assuming this show is This Is Us 2.0. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "The Cast of 'The Village' Will Apparently Make You Cry Even Harder Than 'This Is Us'," 19 Mar. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'jerk.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of jerk

Noun

1575, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Verb (1)

1589, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Verb (2)

1707, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for jerk

Noun and Verb (1)

probably alteration of yerk

Verb (2)

back-formation from jerky entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near jerk

jerfalcon

jerican

Jericho

jerk

jerk around

jerkin

jerkingly

Statistics for jerk

Last Updated

19 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for jerk

The first known use of jerk was in 1575

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More Definitions for jerk

jerk

noun

English Language Learners Definition of jerk

informal : a stupid person or a person who is not well-liked or who treats other people badly
: a quick pull or twist
: a sudden sharp movement

jerk

verb
\ ˈjərk How to pronounce jerk (audio) \
jerked; jerking

Kids Definition of jerk

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to give a quick sharp pull or twist to She jerked the dog's leash.
2 : to move in a quick motion He jerked his head.

jerk

noun

Kids Definition of jerk (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a short quick pull or jolt … he gave the rope a vicious jerk.— C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
2 : a foolish person

jerk

noun
\ ˈjərk How to pronounce jerk (audio) \

Medical Definition of jerk

: an involuntary spasmodic muscular movement due to reflex action especially : one induced by an external stimulus — see knee jerk

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More from Merriam-Webster on jerk

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with jerk

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for jerk

Spanish Central: Translation of jerk

Comments on jerk

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