noun, often attributive
\ ˈjaz How to pronounce jazz (audio) \

Definition of jazz

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : American music developed especially from ragtime and blues and characterized by propulsive syncopated rhythms, polyphonic ensemble playing, varying degrees of improvisation, and often deliberate distortions of pitch and timbre
b : popular dance music influenced by jazz and played in a loud rhythmic manner
2 : similar but unspecified things : stuff that wind, and the waves, and all that jazz— John Updike
3 : empty talk : humbug spouted all the scientific jazz— Pete Martin


jazzed; jazzing; jazzes

Definition of jazz (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : enliven usually used with up
2 : to play in the manner of jazz

intransitive verb

1 : to go here and there : gad
2 : to dance to or play jazz

Other Words from jazz


jazzlike \ ˈjaz-​ˌlīk How to pronounce jazz (audio) \ adjective

Examples of jazz in a Sentence

Noun What's all this jazz about you leaving? She loves hiking, biking, and all that jazz.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun An Evening with Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga in commemoration of the jazz singer's 95th birthday on CBS. Tomás Mier, PEOPLE.com, 23 Nov. 2021 During the final six seasons of his career in the 1960s, Lane played for the Detroit Lions and married jazz singer Dinah Washington, the second of his three wives. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, 22 Nov. 2021 During production of a biopic about a jazz singer whose incredible life story had nearly been lost to time, director Canon and lead actress Neevah try — and fail — to fight their growing feelings for one another. Washington Post, 18 Nov. 2021 Then on Sunday at 3 at the Victoria Theater, the 2021 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Competition will convene rising talents to compete for a $5,000 cash prize — and one of the more prestigious awards available to a young jazz singer. New York Times, 11 Nov. 2021 Ginny Mancini, a jazz singer in the heyday of the big-band era who became a generous benefactor to the concert halls of L.A. as well as the city’s small and often struggling music academies for children, has died at her home in Malibu. Steve Marble, Los Angeles Times, 4 Nov. 2021 Witnesses and family described him as an unselfish and cheerful person who helped others and loved school, a jazz singer who gave lessons to younger students — and someone who fell under the sway of McKinney. James Anderson, ajc, 18 Sep. 2021 Members of the funk/folk rock band Citizen Badger as well as jazz/folk singer Tabatha Meeks all graduated from Palm Beach Atlantic University. Rod Stafford Hagwood, sun-sentinel.com, 13 Sep. 2021 And the extraordinary South Side jazz singer and curator Tammy McCann on Oct. 9. Christopher Borrelli, chicagotribune.com, 9 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb This 214-piece set comes with towers, tracks and two baseboards; the pieces are Lego compatible, so kids can jazz up their structure with new features and colors. Rasha Aridi, Smithsonian Magazine, 23 Nov. 2021 Fans of the throw have used it to jazz up an older couch, as colorful decor on a bedspread, and even as a snuggly option that your entire family, pets included, can enjoy. Lauren Rearick, PEOPLE.com, 24 Sep. 2021 Lip Suede compact and Lit Up Highlight Stick; both are versatile and limited edition pieces sure to jazz up their makeup routine. Kiana Murden, Vogue, 5 Nov. 2021 Earlier this month, two zebras escaped from an Illinois pumpkin patch — to the surprise of Jacob Goebbert, who’d gotten the zebras on loan from an exotic animal farm in Wisconsin to jazz up the fall festivities at Goebbert’s Farm. Washington Post, 16 Oct. 2021 Craig’s star power is sure to jazz the recovering theatre industry, which is reopening after having been shuttered by the pandemic last March. Lee Seymour, Forbes, 29 Sep. 2021 Along the way, the couple saw everything from rare birds, eagles, manatees and dolphins on the water to jazz festivals, big cities and the Statue of Liberty. Daniela Carrasco, ajc, 18 Sep. 2021 These were audacious tales, provocatively asking if America was ready to jazz. Sarah Churchwell, The New York Review of Books, 8 Oct. 2020 In 2019, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that a real estate firm had bought part of the Rampart Street block, including the Karnofsky store, and planned to restore it to pay homage to jazz history. Faith Karimi, CNN, 30 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'jazz.' 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 jazz


1913, in the meaning defined at sense 3


1915, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2

History and Etymology for jazz


origin unknown

Buying Guide

Our team at The Usage has selected the best wireless speakers of 2021.

Learn More About jazz

Dictionary Entries Near jazz



jazz ballet

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for jazz

Last Updated

26 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Jazz.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jazz. Accessed 29 Nov. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for jazz



English Language Learners Definition of jazz

: a type of American music with lively rhythms and melodies that are often made up by musicians as they play
: meaningless or foolish talk
: similar things : stuff


\ ˈjaz How to pronounce jazz (audio) \

Kids Definition of jazz

: a type of American music with lively rhythms and melodies that are often made up by musicians as they play

More from Merriam-Webster on jazz

Nglish: Translation of jazz for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of jazz for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about jazz


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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