slang, "perform male masturbation," by 1896, from jerk (v.) denoting rapid pulling motion + off (adv.). Compare come off "experience orgasm" (17c.). 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.2) is attested by 1968. As an adjective from 1957.
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