Etymology
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jerky (n.)

1850, American English, from American Spanish charqui "jerked meat," from Quechua (Inca) ch'arki "dried flesh."

jerky (adj.)

"characterized by jerks, spasmodic," 1819, originally in medical writing with reference to the pulse, from jerk (n.1) + -y (2). Related: Jerkily; jerkiness.

updated on February 28, 2016

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Definitions of jerky from WordNet
1
jerky (adj.)
lacking a steady rhythm;
Synonyms: arrhythmic / jerking
jerky (adj.)
marked by abrupt transitions;
Synonyms: choppy
jerky (adj.)
having or revealing stupidity;
Synonyms: anserine / dopy / dopey / foolish / goosey / goosy / gooselike
2
jerky (n.)
meat (especially beef) cut in strips and dried in the sun;
Synonyms: jerked meat / jerk
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.