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Jul 24, 2018
This week’s theme
Tosspot words

This week’s words
shunpike
jerkwater
catchpenny
cutpurse
scapegrace

jerkwater
Photo: Wdiehl/Wikimedia

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

jerkwater

PRONUNCIATION:
(JUHRK-wah-tuhr)

MEANING:
adjective: Remote, unimportant, or small.

ETYMOLOGY:
In the days of steam trains, locomotives needed frequent refills of water. They made water stops near streams and lakes and hauled water up to the boiler. These trains were called jerkwaters from the jerking of water in buckets. In time they built water tanks along the tracks. Since these stops were in remote, insignificant areas, the towns around there were known as jerkwater towns and eventually the adjective jerkwater came to be applied to anything small, insignificant, backward, inferior, etc. Earliest documented use: 1878.

USAGE:
“C. Affleck plays a failed writer who returns to his jerkwater hometown.”
The Screen; Esquire (New York); Oct 2007.

See more usage examples of jerkwater in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Up with life. Stamp out all small and large indignities. Leave everyone alone to make it without pressure. Down with hurting. Lower the standard of living. Do without plastics. Smash the servo-mechanisms. Stop grabbing. Snuff the breeze and hug the kids. Love all love. Hate all hate. -John D. MacDonald, novelist (24 Jul 1916-1986)

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