Definition of herky-jerky in English:



informalNorth American
  • Characterized by or moving in sudden stops and starts.

    ‘herky-jerky black and white newsreels’
    • ‘No point guard has as much body control as Payton, able to throw off opponents with his herky-jerky drives forward and sudden stops.’
    • ‘It's a staccato language of enigmatic hand gestures, flailing arms, touching oneself, herky-jerky starts and stops, plunging into space, crashing, spinning, jumping back up.’
    • ‘His hands shake constantly; throw in his current addictions to coffee and cigars and you get transport that is, at best, fumbling and herky-jerky, at worst, upside down in a ditch, surrounded by flashing lights.’
    • ‘In fact, the sobriety, maturity and patience offered a most happy contrast to the herky-jerky behavior of society's supposedly mature ‘opinion makers.’’
    • ‘The widespread use of overdubbing and the preponderance of drum tracks with herky-jerky tempos and wayward rhythms has become a prominent style in pop and R&B that emphasizes rhythmic agility over vocal expression.’
    • ‘If people are turning off network television coverage, which at least offers quality sound and images, it's beyond me why an online site would expect to draw an audience with herky-jerky Internet video and intermittent audio.’
    • ‘It was a little herky-jerky, but I've ridden with Jack before, and he was kind of the same way.’
    • ‘In Afghanistan, the networks scrambled to equip their war correspondents with satellite video phones that transmitted shaky, often fuzzy and herky-jerky video images along with the voice reports.’
    • ‘Norman unleashes torrents of sap, better suited to network TV than to thoughtful cinema, all presented with a herky-jerky camera technique, intended to convey… documentary feel?’
    • ‘The asymmetrical rhythms, shifting time signatures and registers, and the once-again intense chromatics jar us back to the herky-jerky puppets as they summon their ersatz dance skills.’
    • ‘After a rather stunning and disturbing opening sequence, Lumumba really gets going with a disconcertingly sloppy and herky-jerky sequence of biographical background info on our subject.’
    • ‘Reef managers mediate between the values of developers and the values of conservationists in an ongoing herky-jerky process in which it seems to both sides that they are taking three steps forward and two steps back.’
    • ‘On the mound, Willis relied on a windmill windup with a herky-jerky motion and a puzzling assortment of pitches to set National League hitters on their ears for a couple of months until he ran into a slump in mid-August.’
    • ‘Shot from behind and from the side, Auteuil gives a steely performance, registering the turmoil of this deeply false character in tiny eye movements and through herky-jerky body language.’
    • ‘There is a strange, herky-jerky character to her assault, almost as if we were watching an old, speeded-up silent film, that at once distances us from the action and yet makes it more horrible.’
    • ‘As he gets down across the half court and approaches the top of the key he begins to go into a series of herky-jerky dribble moves probably either palming and or caring the ball a good half dozen times during his routine.’
    • ‘His spoken word bit about being on a plane bound for Manila and asking for curried chicken as the pilots lose control is delivered in a series of herky-jerky inflections and with enormous relish.’
    • ‘Last night, before bed, I was combing my daughter's hair and she got away from me, running herky-jerky around the coffee table, laughing like the Fourth of July.’
    • ‘The trade-off for a short running length is a herky-jerky narrative that rarely moves smoothly.’
    • ‘Deficiency of GABA outflow, e.g., Huntington's disease, is characterized by herky-jerky and extraneous movements.’


1970s reduplication of jerky.