Meaning of JERK in English

I. ˈjərk, -ə̄k, -əik verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: probably alter of yerk

transitive verb

1. obsolete : to strike with or as if with a whip

2. : to give a quick and suddenly arrested thrust, push, pull, or twist to

jerk a rope

jerk a coat off

jerk out a pistol

3. : to throw with a quick motion suddenly arrested

jerk money on a table

specifically : to bowl (a cricket ball) illegally (as by bending the arm)

4. : to utter in an abrupt, snappy, or sharply broken manner

jerk out words

5. : to prepare and dispense (sodas)

intransitive verb

1. : to make a sudden spasmodic motion or series of such motions : move with a start or starts

fish jerking and tumbling on the deck of a boat

2. : to move in short abrupt motions

a cripple jerking along a street

: move along with frequent jolts

a train jerking past a station

3. : to throw an object with a jerk ; specifically : to jerk the ball in bowling in the game of cricket

4. obsolete : sneer


snap , twitch , yank : jerk indicates sudden, sharp, quick, graceless, forceful movement begun or ended abruptly

thought the train would never start, but at last the whistle blew and the carriages jerked forward — G.G.Carter

jerked her head back as if she'd been struck in her face — Dorothy Baker

snap may apply to a quite quick action abruptly terminated, as biting or trying to bite sharply or seizing, clutching, snatching, locking, or breaking suddenly

the hounds were fine beasts … land and swift as they bent over the food to snap it into their jaws and swallow it quickly — Elizabeth M. Roberts

the syndicate snapping up land as soon as it is for sale

snapped at her because Theophilus did not eat enough — Margaret Deland

twitch may indicate quick, sometimes spasmodic, and often light action combining tugging and jerking

shrunken body continued to jerk and quiver, fingers twitching at his gray beard — Gerald Beaumont

one Pan ready to twitch the nymph's last garment off — Robert Browning

put out his hand to twitch off a twig as he passed — Willa Cather

yank indicates quick and heavy tugging and pulling

watches her two-year-old stand passive while another child yanks his toy out of his hand — Margaret Mead

she yanked the corset strings viciously — D.B.Chidsey

by means of long blocks and tackle they set to yanking out logs — S.E.White

II. noun

( -s )

Usage: often attributive

1. obsolete : a stroke especially of a whip : lash

2. : a single quick motion usually of short duration and length (as a suddenly arrested pull, thrust, push, or jolt)

get up with a jerk


a. : jolting, bouncing, or thrusting motions

a rustic dance full of jerk and rhythm

b. : tendency to produce spasmodic motions

a car with little jerk and noise


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

b. jerks plural

(1) : chorea

(2) : involuntary twitchings due to nervous excitement (as in the dancing mania and sometimes in religious revivals)


[probably from jerk “masturbator”, from jerk ( off )]

: a stupid, foolish, naïve, or unconventional person

these jerks … who didn't know anything outside their rank and serial number — J.G.Cozzens

soapbox orators who … vary from philosophers to out-and-out jerks — Richard Joseph

6. : the pushing of a weight from shoulder height to a position overhead : the second phase of the clean and jerk in weight lifting

III. transitive verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: back-formation from jerky (III)

: to cut into long slices or strips and dry in the sun

jerk beef

— see charqui

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.