Jerkwater definition

jûrkwôtər, -wŏtər
Remote, small, and insignificant.

A jerkwater town.

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Contemptibly trivial.

Jerkwater notions.

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(historical) A train on an early branch railroad.
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(informal) Being or appropriate to a small, remote, unimportant community or region.

A jerkwater town.

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(US, historical) A train on a branch line.
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(US, colloquial, pejorative) Of an inhabited place, small, insignificant, backward.
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Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
jerkwater
Plural:
jerkwaters

Origin of jerkwater

  • From 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

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition