jaw·​bon·​ing | \ ˈjȯ-ˌbō-niŋ How to pronounce jawboning (audio) \

Definition of jawboning

: the use of public appeals (as by a president) to influence the actions especially of business and labor leaders broadly : the use of spoken persuasion

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In the late 1800s, the noun jawbone meant "credit" (as in his money's gone, so he lives on jawbone), which was probably influenced by the practice of coaxing others to lend money by promising to pay it back. By the mid-1960s the verb to jawbone, meaning "to talk about to gain some end," was appearing regularly in the media. The noun jawboning made its print debut at the end of that decade, in reference to rhetorical practices that influenced the actions of the wealthy and powerful. All of these uses were likely influenced by the verb jaw, which has long been used with the meanings "to talk" or "to scold."

Examples of jawboning in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Biden’s best bet is that his jawboning and pushing at the ports and other points along the supply chain can make a difference, while companies untangle the mess over time. Rich Lowry, National Review, 12 Nov. 2021 Another momentous messaging event involved just three little words, and showed the power of this new form of jawboning, when correctly employed. George Calhoun, Forbes, 10 May 2021 Besides jawboning from Trump, who fears that a slowdown could hurt his chances of winning reelection next year, the Fed will almost certainly face pressure to lower rates further from markets as well. Los Angeles Times, 31 July 2019 To apply real influence over the Fed, past administrations have gone beyond jawboning, said Sebastian Mallaby, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of a biography of Alan Greenspan, a former Fed chairman. Peter Eavis, New York Times, 5 July 2018 Also limiting the greenback’s upside in the wake of Kudlow’s jawboning might be the new adviser’s relative lack of clout, Marino said. Katherine Greifeld, Bloomberg.com, 15 Mar. 2018 Since Trump's jawboning, the plant experienced a round of layoffs in July, when 337 workers left the plant. Author: Aaron Gregg, Danielle Paquette, Anchorage Daily News, 24 Feb. 2018 Perhaps there’s some quiet jawboning going on behind the scenes to avoid embarrassment for everybody. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, 30 Jan. 2018 After Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took power in 2012 and talked down the yen in a bid to help Japan’s export firms, many viewed the jawboning as impolitic and a risk to sparking competitive devaluation and volatility in markets. Don Lee, Philly.com, 25 Jan. 2018

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

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First Known Use of jawboning

1969, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of jawboning was in 1969

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Last Updated

15 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Jawboning.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jawboning. Accessed 5 Dec. 2021.

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