Definition of knee-jerk in English:


Line breaks: knee-jerk


1(Of a response) automatic and unthinking: a knee-jerk reaction
More example sentences
  • Mr Butler said a carbon tax was ‘a knee-jerk response to a global and complex problem’ and that a more sophisticated and appropriately costed solution would be necessary.
  • Jones accused the American authorities of a knee-jerk response to its corporate scandals and said it was symptomatic of a protectionist economy.
  • So just be careful before you leap forward with a knee-jerk response demanding gun control.
1.1(Of a person) responding to situations in an automatic and unthinking way: knee-jerk radicals
More example sentences
  • You're all looking like a bunch of knee-jerk reactionaries.
  • People who think he isn't very smart are either knee-jerk liberals or not paying very close attention.
  • They still managed to produce a perfectly reasonable constitutional document that deserves far more respect than it has received from the knee-jerk critics here at home.


Back to top  
A sudden involuntary reflex kick caused by a blow on the tendon just below the knee.
More example sentences
  • Apart from involuntary knee-jerks, it's the mind that rules.
  • Too often this country resorts to the knee-jerk in order to effect social change, maybe we just need to be a bit more inventive in the way we approach the problem.

Definition of knee-jerk in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day rebuff
Pronunciation: rəˈbəf
reject (someone or something) in an abrupt manner…