Definition of knee-jerk in English:

knee-jerk

adjective

  • 1[attributive] (of a response) automatic and unthinking.

    ‘a knee-jerk reaction’
    • ‘My initial instinct is to take her side, but that's fairly obviously just a knee-jerk response on my part.’
    • ‘It seems to happen often enough that knee-jerk reactions that involving banning things tend to have the opposite effect of what those calling for the ban expect.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Deans emphasizes that future rape cases will be weighed individually; there will be no knee-jerk decision based on newspaper policies.’
    • ‘So just be careful before you leap forward with a knee-jerk response demanding gun control.’
    • ‘There is always a danger of a knee-jerk reaction in these situations, and imposing lots of needless rules on companies going on perfectly well without them.’
    • ‘Such events have prompted hasty - some say knee-jerk - responses by public officials.’
    • ‘This is no knee-jerk response to a tragedy; he has been campaigning on this topic for a long time.’
    • ‘Everything he says about these issues is knee-jerk and over-bearing and made up of half-pieces of information he doesn't fully understand.’
    • ‘Such knee-jerk negativity is both premature and counterproductive.’
    • ‘Until then I hope they don't rush into any knee-jerk decisions.’
    • ‘Such knee-jerk flag-waving is anathema to Banville, a writer who despises nationalism in all forms.’
    • ‘Do you think that was a feminist knee-jerk reaction, or do you think they misinterpreted the book?’
    • ‘There will be no knee-jerk cut in interest rates when the Bank's monetary policy committee meets next month.’
    • ‘Let me respond to a few knee-jerk misconceptions.’
    • ‘It's just another knee-jerk reaction from sections of the media who need to fill endless hours of TV space and thousands of newspaper column inches.’
    • ‘Blogging, and any form of personal publishing, tends to be filled with a lot of reactionary and knee-jerk opinion.’
    • ‘There will be no knee-jerk reactions and I firmly believe we'll get ourselves out of this.’
    • ‘This announcement seems to be more of a knee-jerk reaction than a considered response to a terrible problem.’
    • ‘Jones accused the American authorities of a knee-jerk response to its corporate scandals and said it was symptomatic of a protectionist economy.’
    unintentional, unintended, accidental, unthinking, unwitting, inadvertent, unpremeditated, unplanned
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a person) responding in an automatic and unthinking way.
      ‘knee-jerk radicals’
      • ‘People who think he isn't very smart are either knee-jerk liberals or not paying very close attention.’
      • ‘You're all looking like a bunch of knee-jerk reactionaries.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It's not a bunch of left-wingers or knee-jerk liberals: we're talking about prosecutors, judges, the mainstream lawyer organization.’

noun

  • A sudden involuntary reflex kick caused by a blow on the tendon just below the knee.

    • ‘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.’

Pronunciation:

knee-jerk

/ˈnē ˈˌjərk/