\ ˈjər-kē How to pronounce jerky (audio) \
jerkier; jerkiest

Definition of jerky

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : moving along with or marked by fits and starts
b : characterized by abrupt transitions
2 : inane, foolish


jer·​ky | \ ˈjər-kē How to pronounce jerky (audio) \

Definition of jerky (Entry 2 of 2)

: jerked meat

Other Words from jerky


jerkily \ ˈjər-​kə-​lē How to pronounce jerky (audio) \ adverb
jerkiness \ ˈjər-​kē-​nəs How to pronounce jerky (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for jerky

Synonyms: Adjective

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Examples of jerky in a Sentence

Adjective The movie was jerky and hard to watch. made jerky progress walking with the new crutches
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Or Jake Lacy, as the embodiment of jerky white-male privilege? Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, 30 Nov. 2021 Or maybe Sabi just sees a void that demands to be filled, left by a mother who may never wake up and a sometimes jerky father who is barely keeping it together. Nina Metz,, 18 Nov. 2021 Other times the engine makes a rushed, jerky entrance. Eric Tingwall, Car and Driver, 1 July 2021 Variations of carne seca are popular throughout Latin America, particularly in Brazil and Northern Mexico, and Vacadillos brings a healthier, more flavorful jerky option to the States. Brandon Schultz, Forbes, 12 Apr. 2021 The two teachers described going at the fast but jerky pace of Keystone Kops between desktop and laptop computers and electronic whiteboards to reach and simultaneously teach their on-site and remote pupils. Cynthia Howell, Arkansas Online, 1 June 2021 When the orchestra lit into a fast and jerky rhythm, Birkin attempted to drag him onto the dance floor. Washington Post, 19 Mar. 2021 Setting it to anything above Medium resulted in extremely jerky, blurry gameplay on the RX 580, and that’s a dealbreaker. Jason Evangelho, Forbes, 17 Mar. 2021 The space agency's previous rover, 2012's Curiosity, managed only jerky, grainy stop-motion images, mostly of terrain. Marcia Dunn, Chron, 22 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That could include real estate signs, notices about beef jerky for sale in a parking lot two miles down the road or just about anything else. Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News, 23 Jan. 2022 Though set in his ways, the All-Valley tournament champ is never the same from season to season, despite his penchant for Judas Priest cranked to 11 and Manwiches seasoned with beef jerky. Los Angeles Times, 5 Jan. 2022 In a 2019 game against San Antonio, Harden’s herky-jerky style led to going 24-of-24 from the stripe - the best in NBA history without missing a foul shot. Rusty Simmons, San Francisco Chronicle, 6 Nov. 2021 Sales of Conagra brands, such as David seeds and mixes, Slim Jim meat sticks and beef jerky, and Angie's Boomchickapop popcorn, have increased in 2021 as people snack in their car and on the train to work more frequently. Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN, 21 Dec. 2021 Every ingredient is meant to serve a purpose — the beef jerky is fortified with caffeine, and the applesauce contains maltodextrin, which provides an energy boost. New York Times, 8 June 2021 Their fruit jerky and dried fruit strips are equally as sweet too. Anna Haines, Forbes, 28 Oct. 2021 Go to the supermarket and buy them all—every bag of gummy bears, say, or a whole shopping-cart load of beef jerky or Oreos or Hershey’s Kisses or those tiny hotel-breakfast boxes of cereal. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, 21 Nov. 2021 The glossy photo stood among paper marigolds, teal sugar skulls, candles and even beef jerky for her cousin, who also died. Sarah Beth Guevara And Adia Robinson, ABC News, 1 Nov. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'jerky.' 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 jerky


1670, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1850, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for jerky


Spanish charqui, from Quechua ch'arki

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Last Updated

5 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Jerky.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for jerky



English Language Learners Definition of jerky

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: marked by quick rough motions or sudden starts and stops
: foolish, stupid, or rude



English Language Learners Definition of jerky (Entry 2 of 2)

: meat that has been cut into long strips and dried


\ ˈjər-kē How to pronounce jerky (audio) \
jerkier; jerkiest

Kids Definition of jerky

: moving with sudden starts and stops a jerky ride

More from Merriam-Webster on jerky

Nglish: Translation of jerky for Spanish Speakers


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