Meaning of “jerk” in the English Dictionary

"jerk" in British English

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jerkverb [ I or T, usually + adv/prep ]

uk /dʒɜːk/ us /dʒɝːk/

to make a short sudden movement, or to cause someone or something to do this:

The car made a strange noise and then jerked to a halt.
"What's wrong?" she asked, jerking her head up.

to (force or cause someone or something to) suddenly behave differently, usually by understanding something or becoming active again:

The shock of losing his job jerked him out of his settled lifestyle.

Phrasal verb(s)


uk /dʒɜːk/ us /dʒɝːk/

(Definition of “jerk” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"jerk" in American English

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jerk verb [ always + adv/prep ] (MOVE)

to make a short, sudden movement, or to cause someone or something to move in this way:

[ T ] She jerked the phone out of his hands.
[ I ] The bus jerked to a halt.

Phrasal verb(s)

jerknoun [ C ]

us /dʒɜrk/

jerk noun [ C ] (PERSON)

slang a foolish, annoying person:

What a jerk – he parked in my spot!

(Definition of “jerk” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)