“Jerking off” is a common slang phrase which means to just hang out or chill out and do nothing when you have some important things that you ought to be doing but are not. The phrase originates from the fact that just hanging out and doing nothing when you have things that you ought to be doing is, well, kind of being a jerk. This similarly comes up in the phrase "jerking around." An alternative theory is that it involves the methods of cooking beef jerky or jerk chicken, which involve a lot of waiting while things marinade or get smoked. The other portion of the phrase naturally reflects the common use of the word “off” in phrases like "cooling off" or "taking the day off."

A common example of use would be:

Kid: Hey mom, where is dad?

Mom: Oh, he is just in the backyard jerking off. He's been jerking off out there all day, when he knows the lawn needs mowing. Well if he's going to jerk off in the backyard, I'm just going to go jerk off right here in the kitchen, and he can make his own dinner.

Kid: Ok, I'm going out back to jerk off too.

Be aware that, like many other phrases in the English language, such as the billiards expression "nice rack" or the law enforcement phrase "finger the bad guy," the phrase "jerk off" has a rare alternative meaning associated with sexual innuendo as well, which might get people thinking that you're using it as a double entendre.

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