\ ˈjab How to pronounce jab (audio) \
jabbed; jabbing; jabs

Definition of jab

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to pierce or prod (someone or something) with or as if with a pointed object She jabbed the steak with her fork. The nurse jabbed me with the needle. He jabbed me in the ribs with his elbow.
b : to push or drive (something, such as a pointed object) quickly, abruptly, or forcefully : thrust The nurse jabbed the needle into my arm. She jabbed her elbow into my ribs. He shouted at Alvarez … , jabbing a finger into the catcher's chest protector.— Wina Sturgeon "And look at those girls over there," the woman said, jabbing a finger at my sister's children …— Hope Reeves The robbers then jabbed a gun into Goldberg's back, he told police, and demanded that he hand over his keys.The Miami Herald
2 : to strike (someone or something) with a short straight blow specifically, sports : to strike (an opponent) with a short straight punch that is delivered with the leading hand He tried to jab him in the first round, and Ali's head wasn't there. — Gilbert Rogin
3 : to pointedly tease or mock (someone) We joke around. … I was jabbing him about injuries he's had.Sports Illustrated

intransitive verb

1a : to prod quickly or abruptly and often repeatedly with or as if with a pointed object usually used with at He jabbed at his soufflé with a spoon.— P. G. Wodehouse… repeatedly jabbed at the puck with his stick.— Dave JosephWe all know him or her—the person who stands at the elevator door and jabs at the button three, four, even five times when the car fails to arrive quickly enough.— Earl Ubell"You want to talk about this now?" he snarled, … jabbing at me with his finger.— Jack Gantos
b : to be thrust or driven quickly, abruptly, or forcefully usually used with into The needle jabbed into my arm.… reduces any chance of … keys or coins jabbing into your back when riding.— George Hill
2 : to strike a person with a short straight blow specifically, sports : to throw a short straight punch that is delivered with the leading hand The fight was barely a contest after the first round, when Spinks stopped moving and jabbing and began fighting with his back to the ropes. — William Nack Bradford jabbed well and made sure that Ali was kept at bay … . — Bill Crane
3 : to pointedly tease, mock, or make fun of someone At a moment's notice, he can produce a months-old editorial cartoon jabbing at him and seems genuinely hurt by the message.The New York Times


plural jabs

Definition of jab (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a quick, abrupt, or forceful thrust or stab especially with something pointed : an act of jabbing gave it a couple of jabs with a stick specifically : a short straight boxing punch delivered with the leading hand a quick left jab … Holmes fired a jab and crossed with a … right that caught Frazier flush in the face. — Pat Putnam Buddy had done a good job of teaching me how to bob and weave and throw a jab. — Anthony Quinn
2 : a pointed and often mocking comment or criticism He has a lot of fun with Ranovic, the oh-so-dramatic, eager young undercover cop who consistently fails to understand Salter's ironic jabs.— Jean MacFarlane Wright Undeterred, McCain continues with his standard stump speech, leaving in all the anti-Bush jabs.— Michelle Cottle
3 chiefly British, informal : an injection of something (such as medicine) into one's body with a needle made an appointment for her second jab We're averaging 3 million jabs in arms a day.— Ali Velshi

Examples of jab in a Sentence

Verb He jabbed at the other player with his hockey stick. The needle jabbed his arm. The needle jabbed into his arm. Noun She gave him a jab in the ribs. He threw a right jab to his opponent's body.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The McConnell spot also jabbed at McGrath, but in that instance Kentucky's Democratic governor did not speak out against the use of his image in the advertisement. Phillip M. Bailey, The Courier-Journal, 16 May 2020 President Donald Trump, once friendly with Stephenson, wasted no time jabbing him over his departure. NBC News, 24 Apr. 2020 McConnell has eagerly jabbed at Democrats over the issue in the past several weeks. Phillip M. Bailey, The Courier-Journal, 8 May 2020 Reid jabbed Sanders’s healthcare plan but refused to give his endorsement to any of the candidates ahead of Nevada’s caucuses on Saturday. Madison Dibble, Washington Examiner, 19 Feb. 2020 The suspect appeared to wield at least one sharp object and attempted to jab the man with it several times. Fox News, 20 Feb. 2020 After Biden took a jab at Steyer, a former hedge fund manager, for investing in a private prison company, Steyer jabbed back at Biden for writing a crime bill that Steyer said led to mass incarceration of black and Latino men. USA TODAY, 26 Feb. 2020 Fewer people dotting the surrounding neighborhood slumping against walls, jabbing needles into their necks and discarding dirty syringes on the sidewalks. Heather Knight, SFChronicle.com, 26 Oct. 2019 But to get jabbed by the president of a mediocre Pac-12 school that isn’t even on the Wolverines level in terms of talent, wins, NFL players or any other standard of measurement over the past five years, is ridiculous. Jeremy Cluff, azcentral, 17 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Fury peppered Whyte with a jab to the face then let a right uppercut fly upward, rocking Whyte square on the chin. Lance Pugmire, USA TODAY, 24 Apr. 2022 In her opening monologue, Kim made one lighthearted jab about their split. Kelly Wynne, PEOPLE.com, 21 Apr. 2022 The cat responds with a ferocious jab that sends the hapless dog scurrying. David Klepper, ajc, 26 Feb. 2022 And what about those who've had two of the two-dose vaccines, but haven't been administered with a booster jab? John Walton, CNN, 6 Jan. 2022 On Sunday, in the 49ers’ win at Jacksonville, Arden Key lined up at left defensive tackle, got right guard Ben Bartch off-balance with a jab to the sternum at the snap and barreled into the backfield to sack quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Eric Branch, San Francisco Chronicle, 25 Nov. 2021 When Conwell fires back with a jab of his own, there’s no comparison. Jacob Stern, The Atlantic, 18 Nov. 2021 Plant opened the biggest bout of his career with a solid game plan, tapping Álvarez with a solid jab and moving away from his opponent’s superior power, frequently using a shoulder roll to avoid trouble. BostonGlobe.com, 7 Nov. 2021 Despite his willingness, the journey to get the jab was a bit more challenging. Sara M Moniuszko, USA TODAY, 2 July 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'jab.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of jab


1825, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


1825, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for jab


alteration of job to strike

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Dictionary Entries Near jab

jaal goat



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Cite this Entry

“Jab.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jab. Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for jab


\ ˈjab How to pronounce jab (audio) \
jabbed; jabbing

Kids Definition of jab

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to poke quickly or suddenly with or as if with something sharp He jabbed me with a stick.



Kids Definition of jab (Entry 2 of 2)

: a quick or sudden poke

More from Merriam-Webster on jab

Nglish: Translation of jab for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of jab for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about jab


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