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EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

US mid-19th century. From jerk (to move with a sudden movement) +‎ water. Refers to the need to supply the boilers of steam trains with water. In rural areas and small towns with no water tower, where the train did not stop, this was done by scooping ("jerking") water from a track pan.

PronunciationEdit

  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈdʒɚk.wɔ.tɚ/
  • (file)

NounEdit

jerkwater (plural jerkwaters)

  1. (US, historical) A train on a branch line.
    • 1975, Indiana Historical Society, Indiana Magazine of History, Vol. 71, no. 1 (Mar. 1975), page 355
      [] by bailing from near streams with buckets, (the brake-man called this operation jerking water) and from this the road gets its name of jerkwater road.

TranslationsEdit

AdjectiveEdit

jerkwater (comparative more jerkwater, superlative most jerkwater)

  1. (US, colloquial, derogatory) Of an inhabited place, small, insignificant, and backward.

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