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jabbed; jabbing; jabs

transitive verb

: 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.
: 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
: 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
: to pointedly tease or mock (someone)
We joke around. … I was jabbing him about injuries he's had.Sports Illustrated

intransitive verb

: 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 Joseph
We 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
: 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
: 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
: 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


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plural jabs
: 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
: 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
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
The hands of time and change hit the Bruins like Marvin Hagler jabs and uppercuts this summer. Kevin Paul Dupont, BostonGlobe.com, 16 Sep. 2023 An agent's affidavit filed in U.S. District Court says Floyd screamed, cursed and jabbed a finger in one FBI agent's face and twice chest-bumped the agent in a stairwell. Kate Brumback and Russ Bynum The Associated Press, Arkansas Online, 26 Aug. 2023 Even on short turnaround routes, Flowers can jab to his left and then get separation moving to the right. Mike Preston, Baltimore Sun, 19 Aug. 2023 Trump, who currently faces three federal indictments, will arrive prepared to jab his chief rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who appears to be gaining on Trump in the Iowa polls, despite a turbulent few weeks for DeSantis' campaign. Caroline Curran, ABC News, 10 Aug. 2023 The design on the end of the pen is intentionally crafted to be used to jab and break away when in close quarters with an attacker. John Thompson, Men's Health, 27 July 2023 At the time, that involved physicians jabbing patients with a long needle without the help of an ultrasound to guide their movements, researchers said. Rachel Hatzipanagos, Washington Post, 9 July 2023 The worst culprit, Blatty says, was the scene in which Regan gets an arteriogram: A needle is jabbed into her neck and blood comes spurting out. Chris Vognar, Los Angeles Times, 24 July 2023 Participants can jab at teardrop-style aqua boxing bags and undertake high-intensity strength training circuits to increase stamina and strength. William Thornton | Wthornton@al.com, al, 19 July 2023
While the newest jabs are tailored to a dying strain of Omicron, they’re still expected to protect against severe disease and death from currently circulating strains, the vast majority of which are members of the XBB viral family. Byerin Prater, Fortune Well, 16 Sep. 2023 Pence delivered a jab at one of his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy. Gregory Korte, Fortune, 15 Sep. 2023 The Colorado Buffaloes coach quickly responded Thursday to the jab from Colorado State coach Jay Norvell. oregonlive, 14 Sep. 2023 The Longhorns’ coach couldn’t help but throw a playful jab in the postgame interview on the field. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, 9 Sep. 2023 The Pope got in on the joke and thew a fake jab himself, much to Stallone’s amusement. Zack Sharf, Variety, 8 Sep. 2023 The first Republican debate had its shocking moments: sharp disagreements and quick jabs as the crowded field of Republican candidates introduced themselves to a national audience. USA TODAY, 24 Aug. 2023 While seated next to one another, Gomez called Cyrus to let out a few witty jabs. Angel Saunders, Peoplemag, 21 Aug. 2023 Notably, Trump met with Republican activists that included around a dozen Florida U.S. House members, in a clear jab at DeSantis' attempt to woo backers from his own state. Justin Klawans, The Week, 13 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'jab.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



alteration of job to strike

First Known Use


1825, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


1825, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of jab was in 1825

Dictionary Entries Near jab

Cite this Entry

“Jab.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jab. Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


jabbed; jabbing
: to poke quickly or suddenly with or as if with something sharp
jab noun

More from Merriam-Webster on jab

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