also jumpstart, "to start a car engine using battery booster cables," by 1970; see jump (n.) + start (v.). The sense of jump is that in the jump-spark ignition system, attested from 1883 in gas-lighting, from c. 1902 as a common way to start an automobile; hence also jumper "wire used to cut out ('jump over') part of a circuit or to close a gap," a sense attested from 1901 in telegraphy. Related: Jumpstarted; jumpstarting. Figurative use by 1975. Jump-leads "jumper-cables" is from 1969; jumper-cables from 1961.