While reading Algernon Blackwood's "The Willows" I came across this phrase. Here is the context: «"And, for Heaven's sake," I went on, "don't keep pretending you hear things, because it only gives me the jumps, and there's nothing to hear but the river and this cursed old thundering wind."» I suppose it means to annoy or to irritate someone, but I'm not sure. Could you help me, please?

Edit: There's a phrase "get a jump on sb/sth" in the Camridge Dictionary that means "to start doing something before other people start, or before something happens, in order to win an advantage for yourself". But it's quite different from my assumption I made here.

  • 4
    The false alarms make him nervous – jumpy. Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 20:31
  • 1
    It means it gives him the heebie jeebies.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 0:06

1 Answer 1


It is an AmE slang term for “nervousness”:

the jumps:

1930 [US] R. Whitfield Green Ice (1988) 71: The driver looked so much like the bird that had driven Dot Ellis on her last trip that it gave me the jumps.

1963 [US] M. Braly Shake Him Till He Rattles (1964) 43: He had the jumps so bad he couldn’t sit still.


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