Green’s Dictionary of Slang

jerk off v.

1. to masturbate oneself or a partner.

[UK]‘Philocomus’ Love Feast vi. 61: I’ll jerk off, thinking of thee [OED].
[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 5 Nov. 1/2: They had just become man and wife, and were setting out for their honeymoon by coach. The road was rough [...] which caused the springs to vibrate considerably. ‘I say, you inside there,’ at last called out the driver [...] ‘I wish you would just keep quiet a bit, or I shall be jerked off!’.
[UK]Farmer Vocabula Amatoria (1966) 47: Branler. To masturbate; ‘to jerk off’.
[UK]‘Ramrod’ Nocturnal Meeting 22: The indignity Ethel had inflicted on my cock when she so ruthlessly jerked it off.
[US]D. St John Memoirs of Madge Buford 65: ‘Moillie here saw you jerking yourself off’.
[US] in P. Smith Letter from My Father (1978) 38: While she was undressing I jerked off.
[US] Transcript Dunn Inq. in L.R. Murphy Perverts by Official Order (1989) 80: Kent had ‘jerked himself off’.
[US] (ref. to late 19C) N. Kimball Amer. Madam (1981) 18: A girl who worked on shy johns, or adolescents who still jerked off, down from college getting their cherry copped.
[US] in G. Legman Limerick (1953) 61: There once was a sailor named Gasted, / A swell guy, as long as he lasted, / He could jerk himself off / In a basket, aloft.
[US] in E. Cray Erotic Muse (1992) 369: Oh, you revel in the morning with an upright stand / (It’s urinary pressure on the prostate gland), / And you haven’t got a woman so you jerk it off by hand.
[UK]‘Count Palmiro Vicarion’ Limericks 28: She admitted men’s poles / At all possible holes, / And she’d bugger, fuck, jerk off, and french.
[US]C. Brown Manchild in the Promised Land (1969) 84: K.B. was always trying to jerk off.
[US]D. Goines Swamp Man 48: If you have jerked off first, you can damn near hump all-night.
[Aus]J. Byrell (con. 1959) Up the Cross 127: ‘The poor old poof’ll need to jerk himself off’.
[US]‘Victoria Parker’ Incest Schoolgirls 🌐 He was masturbating to those cheerleading pictures of us [...] jerkin’ off to our pictures.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 24: You want something for nothing, jerk off.
[UK]Indep. on Sun. Culture 23 Jan. 11: That character [...] who jerks off to the Rokeby Venus because he can’t find any porn mags.
[US]W. Ellis Crooked Little Vein 85: I’m going to jerk off like a freak.
[US]G. Hayward Corruption Officer [ebk] cap. 58: [He was] waving his hand back and forth signalling to me that he caught me jerking off. 22 Feb. 🌐 Guys discuss women that they have sex with and what porn they browse, but I don’t think that anyone is ready to talk about jerking off on their monitors yet.
[US]D. Winslow ‘Broken’ in Broken 27: ‘Which hand do you jerk off with, Mauricio?’.

2. in fig. uses.

(a) (Aus.) to do quickly and perfunctorily, esp. in the context of writing.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 2 May 10/1: That […] would, I should say, depend on his capacity for jerking off verse and his thirst for glory.
[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 3 Oct. 1/1: Keep your gig-lamps on the outwardly respectable, but inwardly sultry, crowd whose cash and position enables them to jerk-off tear-downs as strong as dynamite.

(b) (US) to mess around, to waste time or energy.

[US]R. Graziano Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956) 242: What you guys all jerking off about?
[US]Baker et al. CUSS 145: Jerk off Waste time, not study.
[US]A. Goldman Lenny Bruce 30: Gotta find out if this stuff is good or we’re just jerkin’ each other off.
[US]J. Wambaugh Glitter Dome (1982) 118: Just his luck to come in the squadroom when everybody was out jerking off.
[US]C. Fleming High Concept 159: I didn’t come here [...] to wind up jerking off in some office on the back lot.
[US]T. Dorsey Riptide Ultra-Glide 225: You’ll get to know me when you stop jerking off and start to doing fucking business.

(c) (US) to get out, to go away; often in imper.

[US]N. Bogner 7th Avenue 315: Levy, why don’t you jerk off?

(d) to waste time, to work at a pointless task.

[US]E. Grogan Ringolevio 398: Just jerking off together, masturbating highfalutin’ words.
[US]D. Jenkins Life Its Ownself (1985) 38: You got a season to jerk off.
[US](con. 1973) C. Stella Johnny Porno 19: I’m jerking myself off with this unit, and I have better things to do.

(e) (US) to tease, to cheat, to treat badly, to infuriate someone; as jerk someone off.

[US]Baker et al. CUSS 145: Jerk off Tease or annoy someone.
[US](con. 1969) M. Herr Dispatches 144: Lownds was a deceptively complicated man with a gift (as one of his staff officers put it) for ‘jerking off the press.’.
[US]S. King Different Seasons (1995) 468: Quit jerking yourself off.
[US]R. Price Clockers 378: That’s what you were doing to me before anyhow, jerking me off.
[US]N. Green Angel of Montague Street (2004) 18: Don’t jerk me off, Silvano.
[Scot]T. Black Gutted 70: ‘Are you trying to gross me out? ‘Don’t jerk me off, Dury’.
[US](con. 1973) C. Stella Johnny Porno 26: We’ll send somebody else you don’t know. Just in case you’re both jerking us off.
[US]D. Winslow The Force [ebook] ‘Quit jerking me off and tell me what this is about’.

(f) to soothe, to calm down.

[US]L. Shecter On the Pad 131: Most detectives, when catching calls of such minor thefts, will attempt to ‘jerk off’—pacify—the citizen and see if he can get away without making a house call.
[US]R. Cea No Lights, No Sirens 196: [T]he man who was boxing me in [...] being jerked off by the Jappy North Shore socialite in training.

(g) to flatter.

D. Pulcrano ‘Outside of a small circle of friends’ MetroActive 31 Dec. 🌐 On how the votes were put together to demolish the Jose, Johnson acknowledged, ‘It was so easy to pick us off one by one.’ Councilman John Diquisto was metaphorical. ‘They’re always standing in a circle jerking each other off,’ he said. ‘I’m always outside the circle.’.

3. to masturbate a partner.

[US]Bawdy N.Y. State MS. n.p.: PEEPING at a FUCKING MATCH, with woman to Jerk you off, $ .15.
[US] in P. Smith Letter from My Father (1978) 47: She jerked me off – I shot a pretty healthy load.
[US] Transcript Dunn Inq. in L.R. Murphy Perverts by Official Order (1989) 79: He would want to jerk me off.
[US]‘J.M. Hall’ Anecdota Americana I 129: A doctor was lecturing to a class of negroes. [...] ‘One pint of seminal fluid is equal to a pound of blood.’ One of the students raised his hand [...] ‘Ef what you say is so,’ he asked, ‘doctor, in case ahm called to a case suddenly, and the man needs bleeding, is it all right to jerk him off?’.
[US]H. Miller Roofs of Paris (1983) 186: They’d no more think of letting a man get under their skirts than you’d think of asking the bozo next to you on the Metro to take down his pants so you could jerk him off.
[US]H. Selby Jr Last Exit to Brooklyn 280: She probably got that way from jerking her husband off.
[US]E. Bunker Animal Factory 86: After five years it was okay to jerk them off ‘to get them hot’.
[US]R. Price Breaks 401: ‘Let me just jerk you off,’ I pleaded.
[UK]D. Jarman diary 7 Aug. Smiling in Slow Motion (2000) 185: Derek said he had seen a masked flasher in Hyde Park being jerked off.
[US]C. Hiaasen Nature Girl 122: I wouldn’t even jerk him off.

4. (US drugs) to inject a drug, pumping the blood/heroin/water mixture in and out of the vein.

[US]Rabbi J.R. Rosenbloom in Reporter 25 Jun. in Lingeman (1969) n.p.: After tying Gene’s tie around her lower arm, [she] pricked a vein and jerked off – that is, pushed the stuff in and then brought it up with blood.
[US]R.R. Lingeman Drugs from A to Z (1970) 132: jerk off [...] To inject a little heroin at a time, letting it flow back into the needle mixed with blood, reinjecting it, and so on.
[US]E.E. Landy Underground Dict. (1972).
[US]D.E. Miller Bk of Jargon 342: Back up.

5. to move one’s hand over an object in a way that is either obviously masturbatory or else just a nervous or repetitive fiddling.

[US]H. Selby Jr Last Exit to Brooklyn 222: How long are you going to sit there jerking that glass off?
[Aus]B. Humphries Traveller’s Tool 15: Jerking off a bottle of Rosella tomato sauce into a meat pie.