Definition of jemmy in English:


(also jimmy)


  • A short crowbar used by a burglar to force open a window or door.

    • ‘A jemmy had been used to force the double glazed front door regardless of its five locking points.’
    • ‘We armed ourselves with axes, crowbars, jemmies, metal poles, sledge hammers, a quart of paraffin and box of matches.’
    • ‘For this was the jemmy in the door of national sovereignty.’
    • ‘A tool, perhaps a jemmy, was used to open a rear door, but the thieves failed to get inside the car.’
    • ‘He then forced the latch of the window open using a jimmy.’
    • ‘We'll swing by your place and pick up some jimmies and things for you!’
    • ‘I do own and use a car, but if I have a jemmy, I certainly don't carry it around.’
    • ‘The stereo was gone, the front door was bent open with a jimmy, and all my cds had been taken.’
    • ‘It is undisputed that the small ‘transom’ window was forced open with a screwdriver or jemmy.’
    • ‘The typical villain doesn't go out after 10 pm in a stripey jersey, carrying a jemmy and a bag with Swag written on it.’
    crowbar, bar, handspike, jemmy
    View synonyms


[WITH OBJECT]informal
  • Force open (a window or door) with a jemmy.

    ‘a burglar jemmied his patio doors’
    • ‘At a young age Jamie had learned how to jimmy car doors, use a bobby pin to bust open locks and hot wire a car.’
    • ‘Lee guesses the dark shapes are jimmying the lock.’
    • ‘Arven tried to warn her, but she jimmied it open.’
    • ‘He extended a hooked claw and jimmied the window open.’
    • ‘He did feel a little strange jimmying the lock to a room at his friends' house.’
    • ‘Cloake generally used to break into homes by " jemmying " open windows in bedrooms or near the back of the house with a screwdriver.’
    • ‘Apparently, he jimmied open a window in the rear of the house and came in through the kitchen.’
    • ‘Anyway, by climbing up the cherry tree, swinging across to the balcony and jemmying the window, we soon found that getting in through the bathroom was a doddle.’
    • ‘A front door was jemmied open and thieves stole jewellery, a mobile phone, DVDs and a PlayStation 2 console worth a total of £2,000.’
    • ‘The burglar had jemmied the window of the rear bedroom out of its frame, breaking the window catches in the process.’
    • ‘Then, out of sight, they jemmied the outside door and smashed through another internal door, which was locked.’
    • ‘Police believe they jemmied open his front door, which was usually double-locked.’
    • ‘Security bolts had been jemmied out of the wall and chains had been pulled through the wheels of bikes, breaking the spokes.’
    • ‘Miss Kelly said their attempt to jemmy the shop door set off the burglar alarm alerting passing motorist Andrew Carlton.’
    • ‘When she couldn't find the key in its normal hiding spot, she jimmied the lock and let herself in.’
    • ‘This one was normal, she'd have no trouble with that one, she'd jimmied locks before, she could do it again.’
    • ‘Within seconds he had climbed to the second storey, jimmied open a window, and disappeared inside.’
    • ‘In a second he'd jimmied the lock open for me with the tip of the blade.’
    • ‘The head added that the thieves caused a lot of damage jemmying open locked doors and filing cabinets.’
    • ‘And although the cash register had been jimmied, her purse and a bank bag lay next to her.’


Early 19th century: pet form of the given name James (compare with jack).