One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The end of a roof that is hipped for only part of its height, leaving a truncated gable.
- ‘The double-tract building with a vestibule on the axis had a pitched roof with jerkin heads and was covered with shingle.’
- ‘New structures should have jerkin heads, the roof gradient should be 33%, and the roofs should be tiled.’
- ‘To the north of the main gable, there extends a roof ridge terminating in a jerkin-head side gable.’
- ‘This center-entrance house has a wide-span porch, its gabled peak blunted by a jerkin head, a popular roof form for bungalows.’
- ‘The added roof was a steeply pitched interweaving of red tile and jerkin-head gables culminating in a giant chimney on one side.’
Mid 19th century: perhaps from an alteration of jerking (from the jerk (verb)) + head; compare also with earlier kirkin-head (apparently arbitrarily formed from kirk) in the same sense.
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