jelly (v.) Look up jelly at Dictionary.com
c.1600, from jelly (n.). Related: Jellied; jellying.
jellybean (n.) Look up jellybean at Dictionary.com
1905, from jelly (n.) + bean (n.). So called for its shape. Soon used in U.S. slang for "stupid person," probably encouraged by the slang sense of bean as "head."
jellyfish (n.) Look up jellyfish at Dictionary.com
popular name of the medusa and similar sea-creatures, 1796, from jelly (n.) + fish (n.). Earlier it had been used of a type of actual fish (1707).
jellyroll (n.) Look up jellyroll at Dictionary.com
also jelly-roll, "cylindrical cake containing jelly or jam," 1873, from jelly + roll (n.). As slang for "vagina, sexual intercourse" it dates from 1914 ("St. Louis Blues").
Jemima Look up Jemima at Dictionary.com
fem. personal name, biblical daughter of Job, from Hebrew Yemimah, literally "dove" (compare Arabic yamama). The Aunt Jemima ready-mix food product in U.S. dates from 1889.
Jemmy Look up Jemmy at Dictionary.com
a popular pet form of the masc. proper name James (in Middle English records, Gemme, Jemme are more common than Jimme). In mid-18c. often associated with effeminacy and male fastidiousness. As "a crowbar" from 1811.
jennet (n.) Look up jennet at Dictionary.com
"small Spanish horse," mid-15c., from French genet, from Spanish jinete "a light horseman," perhaps from Arabic Zenata, name of a Barbary tribe [Klein]. Sense transferred in English and French from the rider to the horse.
Jennifer Look up Jennifer at Dictionary.com
fem. proper name, from Welsh Gwenhwyvar, from gwen "fair, white" + (g)wyf "smooth, yielding." The most popular name for girls born in America 1970-1984; all but unknown there before 1938. Also attested as a surname from late 13c.
Jenny Look up Jenny at Dictionary.com
fem. personal name, originally diminutive of Jane or Janet; attested from c.1600 as female equivalent of jack (n.), and like it applied to animals (for example Jenny wren, 1640s) and machinery (spinning jenny, 1783).
jeopardise (v.) Look up jeopardise at Dictionary.com
chiefly British English spelling of jeopardize; for suffix, see -ize. Related: Jeopardised; jeopardising.
jeopardize (v.) Look up jeopardize at Dictionary.com
1640s, from jeopardy + -ize. Related: Jeopardized; jeopardizing. As a verb, Middle English used simple jeopard (late 14c.).
jeopardy (n.) Look up jeopardy at Dictionary.com
c.1300, ioparde (13c. in Anglo-French), from Old French jeu parti, literally "a divided game, game with even chances," from jeu "a game" (from Latin iocus "jest;" see joke (n.)) + parti, past participle of partir "to divide" (see part (v.)). Originally "a stratagem;" sense of "danger, risk" is late 14c.
Jephthah Look up Jephthah at Dictionary.com
biblical judge of Israel, from Greek Iephthae, from Hebrew Yiphtah, literally "God opens," imperfective of pathah "he opened" (compare pethah "opening, entrance").
jerboa (n.) Look up jerboa at Dictionary.com
small desert rodent, 1660s, Modern Latin, from Arabic jarbu "flesh of the loins," also the name of a small jumping rodent of North Africa. Compare gerbil.
jeremiad (n.) Look up jeremiad at Dictionary.com
1780, from French jérémiade (1762), in reference to "Lamentations of Jeremiah" in Old Testament.
Jeremiah Look up Jeremiah at Dictionary.com
masc. proper name, Old Testament prophet (see jeremiad) who flourished c.626-586 B.C.E., from Late Latin Jeremias, from Hebrew Yirmeyah, probably literally "may Jehovah exalt," but Klein suggests it also might be short for Yirmeyahu "the Lord casts, the Lord founds," and compares the first element in Jerusalem. The vernacular form in English was Jeremy.
Jeremy Look up Jeremy at Dictionary.com
popular anglicized form of Jeremiah; compare French Jérémie.
Jericho Look up Jericho at Dictionary.com
Biblical city (Num. xxii:1, etc.), perhaps ultimately from Hebrew yareakh "moon, month," and thus a reference to an ancient moon cult. As a figurative place of retirement (17c.), the reference is to II Sam. x:5.
jerk (v.1) Look up jerk at Dictionary.com
"to pull," 1540s, "to lash, strike as with a whip," of uncertain origin, perhaps echoic. Related: Jerked; jerking.
jerk (v.2) Look up jerk at Dictionary.com
as a method of preserving meat, 1707, American English, from American Spanish carquear, from charqui (see jerky). Related: Jerked.
jerk (n.2) Look up jerk at Dictionary.com
"tedious and ineffectual person," 1935 (the lyric in "Big Rock Candy Mountain" apparently is "Where they hung the Turk [not jerk] that invented work"), American English carnival slang, of uncertain origin. Perhaps from jerkwater town (1878), where a steam locomotive crew had to take on boiler water from a trough or a creek because there was no water tank [Barnhart, OED]. This led 1890s to an adjectival use of jerk as "inferior, insignificant." Alternatively, or influenced by, verbal phrase jerk off "masturbate" [Rawson].
jerk (n.1) Look up jerk at Dictionary.com
1550s, "stroke of a whip," from jerk (v.1). Sense of "sudden sharp pull or twist" first recorded 1570s. Meaning "involuntary spasmodic movement of limbs or features" first recorded 1805. As the name of a popular dance, it is attested from 1966. Sense in soda jerk attested from 1883, from the pulling motion required to work the taps.
jerk off (v.) Look up jerk off at Dictionary.com
slang, "perform male masturbation," by 1896, from jerk (v.) denoting rapid pulling motion + off. Farmer & Henley also list as synonyms jerk (one's) jelly and jerk (one's) juice. The noun jerk off or jerkoff as an emphatic form of jerk (n.) is attested by 1968. As an adjective from 1957.
jerkin (n.) Look up jerkin at Dictionary.com
1510s, of uncertain origin, perhaps related to Dutch jurk "a frock," but this is a modern word, itself of unknown origin, and the initial consonant presents difficulties (Dutch -j- typically becomes English -y-).
jerky (n.) Look up jerky at Dictionary.com
1850, American English, from American Spanish charqui "jerked meat," from Quechua (Inca) ch'arki "dried flesh."
jerky (adj.) Look up jerky at Dictionary.com
"characterized by jerks," 1858, from jerk (v.1) + -y (2). Related: Jerkily; jerkiness.
jeroboam (n.) Look up jeroboam at Dictionary.com
1816, "large wine bottle," from Jeroboam, "a mighty man of valour" (I Kings xi:28) "who made Israel to sin" (xiv:16), from Hebrew Yarobh'am, literally "let the people increase."
Jerome Look up Jerome at Dictionary.com
masc. proper name, from French Jérome, from Late Latin Hieronymus, from Greek Hieronymos, literally "holy name," from hieros "holy" (see ire) + onyma, dialectal form of onoma "name" (see name (n.)).
Jerry (n.) Look up Jerry at Dictionary.com
World War I British Army slang for "a German, the Germans," 1919, probably an alteration of German, but also said to be from the shape of the German helmet, which was thought to resemble a jerry, British slang for "chamber pot" (1827), this being probably an abbreviation of jeroboam. Hence jerry-can "5-gallon metal container" (1943), a type first used by German troops in World War II, later adopted by the Allies.
jerry-built (adj.) Look up jerry-built at Dictionary.com
1869, in which jerry has a sense of "bad, defective," probably a pejorative use of the male nickname Jerry (a popular form of Jeremy; compare Jerry-sneak, mid-19c., "sneaking fellow, a hen-pecked husband" [OED]). Or from or influenced by nautical slang jury "temporary," which came to be used of all sorts of makeshift and inferior objects (see jury (adj.)).
jersey (n.) Look up jersey at Dictionary.com
1580s as a type of knitted cloth; 1842 as a breed of cattle; both from Jersey, one of the Channel Islands. Its name is said to be a corruption of Latin Caesarea, the Roman name for the island (or another near it), influenced by Old English ey "island;" but perhaps rather a Viking name (perhaps meaning "Geirr's island"). The meaning "woolen knitted close-fitting tunic," especially one worn during sporting events, is from 1836.
Jerusalem Look up Jerusalem at Dictionary.com
holy city in ancient Palestine, from Greek Hierousalem, from Hebrew Yerushalayim, literally "foundation of peace," from base of yarah "he threw, cast" + shalom "peace." Jerusalem "artichoke" is folk etymology of Italian girasole "sunflower."
jess (n.) Look up jess at Dictionary.com
leg-strap used in hawking and falconry, mid-14c., from Old French jes "straps fastened round the legs of a falcon," plural of jet, literally "cast, throw," from Latin iactus "a throw, cast," from iacere (see jet (v.)). Related: Jesses.
jessamine (n.) Look up jessamine at Dictionary.com
Middle English, from Middle French jassemin, variant of jasmine.
Jesse Look up Jesse at Dictionary.com
masc. proper name, biblical father of David, from Latin, from Greek Iessai, from Hebrew Yishay, of unknown origin.
Jessica Look up Jessica at Dictionary.com
fem. proper name, from Late Latin Jesca, from Greek Ieskha, from Hebrew Yiskah, name of a daughter of Haran (Gen. xi:29). Among the top 5 popular names for girls born in the U.S. every year between 1977 and 1997. The familiar form Jessie was one of many fem. names used 20c. for "cowardly or effeminate male."
jest (n.) Look up jest at Dictionary.com
early 13c., geste, "narrative of exploits," from Old French geste "action, exploit," from Latin gesta "deeds," neuter plural of gestus, past participle of gerere "to carry, behave, act, perform" (see gest). Sense descended through "idle tale" (late 15c.) to "mocking speech, raillery" (1540s) to "joke" (1550s).
jest (v.) Look up jest at Dictionary.com
1520s, "to speak in a trifling manner;" 1550s, "to joke," from Middle English gesten "recite a tale" (late 14c.), from geste (see jest (n.)). Related: Jested; jesting.
jester (n.) Look up jester at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., jestour (Anglo-Latin), late 14c., gestour "a minstrel, professional reciter of romances," agent noun from gesten "recite a tale," which was a jester's original function (see jest). Sense of "buffoon in a prince's court" is from c.1500.
Jesuit Look up Jesuit at Dictionary.com
1540s, from Modern Latin Jesuita, member of the Society of Jesus, founded 1533 by Ignatius Loyola to combat Protestantism. Their enemies (in both Catholic and Protestant lands) accused them of belief that ends justify means, hence the sense "a dissembling person" (1630s), and jesuitical "deceitful" (1610s).
Jesus Look up Jesus at Dictionary.com
late 12c. (Old English used hælend "savior"), from Greek Iesous, which is an attempt to render into Greek the Aramaic proper name Jeshua (Hebrew Yeshua) "Jah is salvation," a common Jewish personal name, the later form of Hebrew Yehoshua (see Joshua).

As an oath, attested from late 14c. For Jesus H. Christ (1924), see I.H.S. First record of Jesus freak is from 1970. Jesu, common in Middle English, is from the Old French objective case.
jet (n.1) Look up jet at Dictionary.com
"stream of water," 1690s, from French jet, from jeter (see jet (v.)). Sense of "spout or nozzle for emitting water, gas, fuel, etc." is from 1825. Hence jet propulsion (1867) and the noun meaning "airplane driven by jet propulsion" (1944, from jet engine, 1943). The first one to be in service was the German Messerschmitt Me 262. Jet stream is from 1947. Jet set first attested 1951, slightly before jet commuter plane flights began. Jet age is attested from 1952.
jet (v.) Look up jet at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "to prance, strut, swagger," from Middle French jeter "to throw, thrust," from Late Latin iectare, abstracted from deiectare, proiectare, etc., in place of Latin iactare "toss about," frequentative of iacere "to throw, cast," from PIE root *ye- "to do" (cognates: Greek iemi, ienai "to send, throw;" Hittite ijami "I make"). Meaning "to sprout or spurt forth" is from 1690s. Related: Jetted; jetting.
jet (n.2) Look up jet at Dictionary.com
"deep black lignite," mid-14c., from Anglo-French geet, Old French jaiet "jet, lignite" (12c.), from Latin gagates, from Greek gagates lithos "stone of Gages," town and river in Lycia. As "a deep black color," also as an adjective, attested from mid-15c.
jet lag (n.) Look up jet lag at Dictionary.com
also jetlag, 1966, from jet (n.2) + lag (n.). Also known in early days as time zone syndrome.
jete (n.) Look up jete at Dictionary.com
ballet step, 1830, from French (pas) jeté, from past participle of jeter "to throw" (see jet (v.)).
Jethro Look up Jethro at Dictionary.com
masc. proper name, biblical father-in-law of Moses, from Hebrew Yithro, collateral form of Yether, literally "abundance," from base y-t-r "to be left over, to remain."
jetsam (n.) Look up jetsam at Dictionary.com
1560s, jottsome "act of throwing goods overboard to lighten a ship," alteration and contraction of Middle English jetteson, from Anglo-French getteson, Old French getaison "a throwing" (see jettison). Intermediate forms were jetson, jetsome; the form perhaps was deformed by influence of flotsam. From 1590s as "goods thrown overboard;" figurative use by 1861. For distinction of meaning, see flotsam.
jettison (v.) Look up jettison at Dictionary.com
1848, from jettison (n.) "act of throwing overboard" to lighten a ship. This noun was an 18c. Marine Insurance writers' restoration of the earlier form and original sense of the 15c. word that had become jetsam, probably because jetsam had taken on a sense of "things cast overboard" and an unambiguous word was needed for "act of throwing overboard."

Middle English jetteson (n.) "act of throwing overboard" is from Anglo-French getteson, from Old French getaison "act of throwing (goods overboard)," especially to lighten a ship in distress, from Late Latin iactionem (nominative iactatio) "act of throwing," noun of action from past participle stem of iectare "toss about" (see jet (v.)). Related: Jettisoned.
jetty (n.) Look up jetty at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Old French jetee "a jetty, a projecting part of a building," also "a throw," noun use of fem. past participle of jeter "to throw" (see jet (v.)). Notion is of a structure "thrown out" past what surrounds it.