Green’s Dictionary of Slang

jerk v.2

1. [17C–18C; 1970s] to copulate; thus jerking.

2. [mid-17C–mid-19C] (also yerk) to accost; to beat.

3. [late 18C–19C] to write or utter.

4. [mid-19C] (US) to take, to snatch.

5. [mid-19C+] (US) to draw a gun or weapon.

6. [late 19C+] (US) to draw beer, soda etc. from a tap.

7. [late 19C+] to masturbate.

8. [20C+] (Aus./US) to dismiss, to disqualify, to withdraw; thus the sudden jerk, the ending of an affair.

9. [1970s+] (US) to cheat, to mistreat.

10. [1980s+] (US campus, also jerk over) of a person, to mess around, to annoy deliberately, to harass; of a situation, to make a mess, to interfere with.

11. [1990s+] (US black) to spend freely.

In compounds

jerk jelly (n.)

[2000s+] semen, usu. on context of masturbation.

jerk-silly (adj.) (also jerk-simple)

[1930s+] (US) mentally unbalanced, supposedly from chronic masturbation.

In phrases

jerk a knot (v.) [SE knot, a lump or bruise]

[1940s+] (US) to hit or punch someone.

jerk around (v.)

1. [20C+] (US) to treat badly, to tease someone, to mess someone about, as jerk someone around.

2. [1960s+] (US campus) to waste time, to fool around.

jerk off

see separate entries.

jerk over (v.)

see sense 10 above.

jerk someone’s joint (v.) [joint n. (1)]

[1990s+] to masturbate someone else, e.g. of a prostitute and her client.

In exclamations

SE in slang uses

In phrases

jerk across the Jordan (v.) [SE jerk + River Jordan, fig. used as a place that had to be crossed in death]

[1910s] (Aus.) to execute by hanging.

jerk someone’s chain (v.) (also jerk someone’s bird) [SE jerk, as an owner drags on a dog’s lead to control it + chain/bird n.3 (1)]

[1940s+] to annoy, to distract forcefully, to taunt.

jerk the tinkler (v.) [tinkler n.2 ]

[mid-19C] to ring a bell.

jerk to Jesus (v.) (also jerk to Jericho)

[late 19C–1930s] (US) to execute by hanging.

jerk up (v.)

1. [mid-19C–1940s] (US) to arrest.

2. [20C+] (US) to reprimand.

3. [1990s+] (US) to impose upon, to mess someone around.