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How the slang word "jacked" (having well-developed muscles) is formed?

The word jack itself may be related to drugs, however I don't think that the meaning comes from there.

There is a theory that it has formed from the word jagged (having low body fat), but I cannot find a proof to that.

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2 Answers 2

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According to the neologism database from The Rice University:

Jacked:

Etymology : Comes from the Modern English verb "jack", as in to "hoist,raise". In the late 1990's, the suffix "-ed" was added to the end of the word and it became an adjective to describe massive amounts of strength.

According to Green’s Dictionary of Slang it is from US campus slang:

Jacked (US campus)

muscular, well-developed.

  • 1996 [US] Eble Campus Sl. Sept. 4: jacked – in good physical condition, toned: ‘After working out at the gym for six months, Nicole was jacked’.
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  • Etymonline mentions that "jack" also referred to an erect penis (whence "jacking off"), which may have been an influence (full of fluid, hard, erect).
    – Stuart F
    Commented May 18, 2023 at 8:47
  • @StuartF - both senses may be related.
    – user 66974
    Commented May 18, 2023 at 8:47
  • Indeed. The fact that it was also used of another part of the human body is interesting though.
    – Stuart F
    Commented May 18, 2023 at 8:48
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One possibility is "jacked up".

One meaning is given as "increased" and "expanded" (perhaps applied to muscle mass and general stature).

Another is "stimulated" and "excited" (your reference to drugs but could also be interpreted as active or aggressive).

The phrase itself comes from "jack", a device for lifting cars.

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