a train on an early branch railroad
Origin of jerkwaterjerk + water: probably in reference to pulling the valve on the water tank to fill the engine boiler
Informal small, unimportant, etc.: a jerkwater town
- Remote, small, and insignificant: a jerkwater town.
- Contemptibly trivial: jerkwater notions.
Origin of jerkwaterFrom jerkwater, a branch-line train, so called because its small boiler had to be refilled often, requiring train crews to “jerk” or draw water from streams.
- (US, historical) A train on a branch line.
(comparative more jerkwater, superlative most jerkwater)