Idioms

Learn idioms with comprehensive meaning, examples and origin details.

Idioms

knee jerk reaction

knee jerk reaction

Meaning

  • an automatic response to something
  • an immediate reaction made without thinking
  • a reflex reaction
  • an instant reaction made without examining causes or facts
  • a spontaneous and involuntary reaction

Example Sentences

  1. It was a typical knee jerk reaction. He said no immediately without considering our proposal.
  2. In a knee jerk reaction after the big defeat, the coach dropped many of the players and fielded a new look team for the next match.
  3. We want to avoid a knee jerk reaction to this crisis, so we will have to sit down and plan our next course of action.
  4. Her remark was probably a knee jerk reaction to your comments, which were not very flattering.
  5. The actions of the police were a knee jerk reaction to the sudden rise in crime in the city.
  6. In a knee jerk reaction to the increase in costs, the company decided to shut down some of its operations.
  7. Megan was so afraid of the horror movie that she denied to recognise her father on phone call in a knee jerk reaction.

Origin
This phrase refers to the actual physical tendency of the knee to jerk involuntarily when when hit sharply just below the kneecap. Scientifically, this is called the patellar reflex. The phrase began to be used figuratively from the early 20th century onwards. An early reference is found in O. O. McIntyre’s column New York Day-By-Day in The Coshocton Tribune in October 1921.

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