knee-jerk
adjective Date: 1951 readily predictable ; automatic <
knee-jerk reactions
>
; also reacting in a readily predictable way <
knee-jerk liberals
>

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • knee-jerk — is a popularized technicality taken from the physical meaning ‘a sudden involuntary kick caused by a blow on the tendon just below the knee when the leg is hanging loose’. It is now popular among politicians, broadcasters, etc., especially in the …   Modern English usage

  • Knee jerk — (Physiol.) A jerk or forward kick of the lower part of the leg produced by a blow or sudden strain upon the patellar tendon of the knee, which causes a sudden contraction of the quadriceps muscle; the patellar reflex. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • knee-jerk — adj [only before noun] a knee jerk reaction, answer etc is what you feel or say about a situation from habit, without thinking about it = ↑automatic ▪ A victim s knee jerk reaction to the crime is often revenge …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • knee-jerk — knee ,jerk adjective only before noun a knee jerk reaction is immediate and not carefully considered: Calling for longer prison sentences is just a knee jerk reaction to a rise in crime …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Knee jerk — Knee jerk, n. emotional and predictable; of certain people and their reactions to events. [PJC] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • knee-jerk — knee′ jerk adj. cvb Informal. reacting in an automatic, habitual manner; unthinking: a knee jerk liberal[/ex] • Etymology: 1895–1900 …   From formal English to slang

  • knee-jerk — ☆ knee jerk [nē′jʉrk΄ ] adj. [< KNEE JERK] Informal designating, characterized by, or reacting with an automatic, predictable response …   English World dictionary

  • knee-jerk — ► NOUN ▪ an involuntary reflex kick caused by a blow on the tendon just below the knee. ► ADJECTIVE ▪ automatic and unthinking: a kneejerk reaction …   English terms dictionary

  • knee-jerk — patellar reflex, neurological phenomenon discovered and named 1876; the figurative use appeared soon after the phrase was coined …   Etymology dictionary

  • knee jerk — knee′ jerk n. phl a reflex extension of the leg resulting from a sharp tap on the patellar tendon • Etymology: 1875–80 …   From formal English to slang

  • knee jerk — n. PATELLAR REFLEX …   English World dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”