from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To cut (meat) into long strips and dry in the sun or cure by exposing to smoke.
  • adjective Being or relating to a method of barbecuing meat that has been seasoned and wrapped in leaves of the allspice tree.
  • intransitive verb To give a sudden quick thrust, push, pull, or twist to.
  • intransitive verb To throw or toss with a quick abrupt motion.
  • intransitive verb To utter abruptly or sharply.
  • intransitive verb To make and serve (ice-cream sodas, for example) at a soda fountain.
  • intransitive verb Sports To press (a weight) overhead from shoulder height in a quick motion.
  • intransitive verb To move in sudden abrupt motions; jolt.
  • intransitive verb To make spasmodic motions.
  • noun A sudden abrupt motion, such as a yank or twist.
  • noun A jolting or lurching motion.
  • noun Physiology A sudden reflexive or spasmodic muscular movement.
  • noun Involuntary convulsive twitching often resulting from excitement. Often used with the.
  • noun Slang A foolish, rude, or contemptible person.
  • noun Sports A lift in which the weight is heaved overhead from shoulder height with a quick motion.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In golf, a stroke in which the club-head, after striking the ball, digs into the ground.
  • noun An abrupt witticism; a sudden sally of wit.
  • noun plural Chorea or tic.
  • 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.
  • noun Meat cut into strips and cured by drying it in the open air.
  • To cure, as meat, especially beef, by cutting into long thin pieces and drying in the sun.
  • noun A short, sharp pull, thrust, or twitch; a sudden throw or toss; a jolt; a twitching or spasmodic motion.
  • noun A sudden spring or bound; a start; a leap; a sally.
  • noun An involuntary spasmodic contraction of a muscle, due to reflex action resulting from a blow or other external stimulus.
  • noun plural The paroxysms or violent spasmodic movements sometimes resulting from excitement in connection with religious services. Specifically called the jerks.
  • noun A sneer; sarcasm.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb obsolete To beat; to strike.
  • transitive verb To give a quick and suddenly arrested thrust, push, pull, or twist, to; to yerk
  • transitive verb To throw with a quick and suddenly arrested motion of the hand.
  • transitive verb To cut into long slices or strips and dry in the sun. See charqui.
  • intransitive verb To make a sudden motion; to move with a start, or by starts.
  • intransitive verb To flout with contempt.
  • noun A short, sudden pull, thrust, push, twitch, jolt, shake, or similar motion.
  • noun A sudden start or spring.
  • noun Slang A foolish, stupid, or otherwise contemptible person.
  • noun (Sport) 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.
  • noun British Calisthenic exercises, such as push-ups or deep knee bends; also called physical jerks.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A sudden, often uncontrolled movement, especially of the body.
  • noun A quick, often unpleasant tug or shake.
  • noun US, slang, pejorative A dull or stupid person.
  • noun US, slang, pejorative A person with unlikable or obnoxious qualities and behavior, typically mean, self-centered, or disagreeable.
  • noun physics, engineering The rate of change in acceleration with respect to time.
  • noun obsolete A soda jerk.


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

[Back-formation from jerky.]

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

[Origin unknown.]

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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  • 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

  • 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

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

    More at Distance, speed, acceleration, and time.

    May 13, 2008

  • Caribbean jerk.

    November 28, 2009