jaw

noun
\ ˈjȯ How to pronounce jaw (audio) \

Definition of jaw

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : either of two complex cartilaginous or bony structures in most vertebrates that border the mouth, support the soft parts enclosing it, usually bear teeth on their oral margin, and are an upper that is more or less firmly fused with the skull and a lower that is hinged, movable, and articulated with the temporal bone of either side — compare mandible, maxilla
b : the parts constituting the walls of the mouth and serving to open and close it usually used in plural
c : any of various organs of invertebrates that perform the function of the vertebrate jaws
2 : something resembling the jaw of an animal: such as
a : either of two or more opposable parts that open and close for holding or crushing something between them
b : one of the sides of a narrow pass or channel
3a : a space lying between or as if between open jaws escaped from out of the jaws of the whale
b : a position or situation in which one is threatened rode into the jaws of danger
4 : a friendly chat

jaw

verb
jawed; jawing; jaws

Definition of jaw (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to talk especially abusively, indignantly, or long-windedly jawing with the referee

transitive verb

: to talk to in a scolding or boring manner

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from jaw

Noun

jawless \ ˈjȯ-​ləs How to pronounce jawless (audio) \ adjective
jawless vertebrates

Examples of jaw in a Sentence

Noun He broke his upper jaw. the jaws of a tiger the jaws of a vise Verb The coach was jawing with the referee. She was on the phone jawing with her sister all night.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Those fragments closely matched jaw pieces from fossils in Brazil and Peru that had been assigned to other species. Gretchen Vogel, Science | AAAS, "Battle-scarred fossils suggest giant turtles fought each other—and crocodiles three times their size," 12 Feb. 2020 The lower jaw helps fill in another puzzle piece about these turtles, providing a better idea of their diet. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Biggest turtle that ever lived had 10 foot shell with horns," 12 Feb. 2020 Offset circle hooks resulted in mouth- or jaw-hooking 80 percent of fish, and J hooks, 60 percent. Popular Science, "Releasing a caught fish isn’t as simple as tossing it overboard," 11 Feb. 2020 Fred Costanza, 37, was was convicted by a Lincoln County jury last month of second-degree assault and harassment in the Aug. 24 attack that shattered Lauren Jackson’s jaw and fractured her skull, court records show. oregonlive, "Man who fractured transgender woman’s skull for using public restroom sentenced to nearly 6 years," 7 Feb. 2020 Tiny mice sprint in between the plow lines, scampering away from the combine’s jaw. Autumn Schoolman, Indianapolis Star, "'It keeps getting hotter and wetter': Indiana farmer doesn't need science to tell him climate change is to blame," 4 Feb. 2020 Wolf jaws are powerful — exerting a force of up to 1,500 pounds per square inch at the back — and can chomp bones easily. Washington Post, "Rescued wolves have a safe space in the Pennsylvania woods," 4 Feb. 2020 One of the most iconic costume pieces are the face masks, which originated from the ancient Greek and Roman festivals, including the Bauta, a popular white mask that features a square jaw line and no mouth. Shauna Beni, Condé Nast Traveler, "A Guide to the Wildest Carnival Celebrations Around the World," 31 Jan. 2020 Campbell departed from her signature long locks and stepped out in a chic jaw-length haircut, and maybe your next one too. Jennifer Ford, Essence, "ICYMI: Naomi Campbell Has A New Hairstyle," 28 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Center Marquese Chriss was ejected in the waning seconds after jawing at midcourt with Utah center Tony Bradley, a fitting end to an ugly night. Connor Letourneau, SFChronicle.com, "Warriors get blown out by Jazz for 12th loss in 13 games," 22 Jan. 2020 Wide receiver Allen Robinson jawed with critics on Twitter on Sunday night and Monday morning, though his tone seemed to be increasingly more light-hearted as the hours wore on. Colleen Kane, chicagotribune.com, "Matt Nagy must make sure the Bears don’t unravel amid mounting frustration: 'Stay off the Twitter’," 22 Oct. 2019 Montgomery complained about the strike zone to Gonzalez, who warned the left-hander before quickly giving him the heave-ho when Montgomery kept jawing at him. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Cruz hits 2 of 4 homers by Twins in 8-5 win over Royals," 19 Sep. 2019 Texas Tech was able to keep its composure and avoided jawing back at the Mountaineers, much to their benefit. Brice Paterik, Dallas News, "Texas Tech upsets No. 12 West Virginia with elite shooting and composure under pressure," 29 Jan. 2020 Ramsey appeared to say something that bothered Peters, who then broke off from the hug and started jawing at Ramsey. Lorenzo Reyes, USA TODAY, "Ravens' Marcus Peters gets heated with Jalen Ramsey after win over Rams," 27 Nov. 2019 Philyor’s jawing with a Nebraska defender essentially wrecked the drive. Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star, "A breakthrough win? Sure feels like it. 'Did you see what we’re doing at Indiana?’," 27 Oct. 2019 Paul Rieckhoff, the founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, who has openly criticized Chief Gallagher, said that the square-jawed, blue-eyed SEAL has been a valuable political weapon for the Trump administration. New York Times, "From the Brig to Mar-a-Lago, Former Navy SEAL Capitalizes on Newfound Fame," 31 Dec. 2019 Megan Rapinoe The American soccer star’s inclusion on the list likely has to do with the back-and-forth jawing between her and President Donald Trump during the FIFA Women’s World Cup over the summer. oregonlive, "3 Americans, including Megan Rapinoe, crack UK list of 2019’s 10 most ‘unfairly treated’ celebs," 17 Dec. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of jaw

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1748, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for jaw

Noun

Middle English

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about jaw

Time Traveler for jaw

Time Traveler

The first known use of jaw was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for jaw

Last Updated

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Jaw.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jaw. Accessed 23 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for jaw

jaw

noun
How to pronounce jaw (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of jaw

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: either one of the two bones of the face where teeth grow
: the lower part of a person's face
: two parts of a machine or tool that open and close to hold or crush something

jaw

verb

English Language Learners Definition of jaw (Entry 2 of 2)

informal : to talk in an angry way or for a very long time

jaw

noun
\ ˈjȯ How to pronounce jaw (audio) \

Kids Definition of jaw

1 : either of an upper or lower bony structure that supports the soft parts of the mouth and usually bears teeth on its edge and of which the lower part is movable
2 : a part of an invertebrate animal (as an insect) that resembles or does the work of a human jaw
3 : one of a pair of moving parts that open and close for holding or crushing something Tighten the jaws of the vise.

jaw

noun
\ ˈjȯ How to pronounce jaw (audio) \

Medical Definition of jaw

1 : either of two complex cartilaginous or bony structures in most vertebrates that border the mouth, support the soft parts enclosing it, and usually bear teeth on their oral margin:
a : an upper structure more or less firmly fused with the skull

called also upper jaw, maxilla

b : a lower structure that consists of a single bone or of completely fused bones and that is hinged, movable, and articulated by a pair of condyles with the temporal bone of either side

called also inferior maxillary bone, lower jaw, mandible

2 : the parts constituting the walls of the mouth and serving to open and close it usually used in plural
3 : any of various organs of invertebrates that perform the function of the vertebrate jaws

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on jaw

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for jaw

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with jaw

Spanish Central: Translation of jaw

Nglish: Translation of jaw for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of jaw for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about jaw

Comments on jaw

What made you want to look up jaw? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!