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

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Other Words from jazz


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

Examples of jazz in a Sentence


What's all this jazz about you leaving? She loves hiking, biking, and all that jazz.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The songs incorporated styles not usually associated with his career, such as funk, soul, jazz and even disco. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Legendary singer Johnny Mathis brings ‘a little of this and a little of that’ to San Diego," 16 Sep. 2019 And in its diverse maturity, funk could respond to the demands of the market, and straddle the worlds of R&B, soul, jazz and disco. chicagotribune.com, "The 6 hottest Chicago shows to see right now," 13 Sep. 2019 The group, whose flashy road show made it a must-see in its heyday, is still a nimble live act capable of putting over beloved tunes that blend soul, rock, jazz and African music. Los Angeles Times, "In praise of Earth, Wind & Fire, purveyor of black excellence for a half-century," 12 Sep. 2019 Last year’s event brought 230,000 people and Sunday’s turnout appeared just as large as visitors drifted by the local artisans, food booths and nonprofits while electric blues, jazz, salsa and other bands added an energetic pulse to the day. Evan Sernoffsky, SFChronicle.com, "‘Perfect day’ at Solano Stroll, the East Bay’s largest street festival," 8 Sep. 2019 Jamaican reggae — like American jazz and blues — has bounced around the world and morphed in different locations, transforming pop music in the process. John Adamian, courant.com, "Best bets: Our 7 picks for this week’s concerts in Connecticut," 8 Sep. 2019 In the morning, Sonoran Masala will interpret southern India’s Carnatic music traditions, blending that classic style with more modern jazz and rock sounds. Laura Latzko, azcentral, "India's colorful cultural heritage takes center stage at MIM celebration," 29 Aug. 2019 Celebrate 100 years of music through gospel, spiritual, jazz and classical compositions. Lisa Herendeen, The Mercury News, "S.F. Bay Area calendar: Greek festival, comedy and more," 25 Aug. 2019 But no one had felt compelled to snap his fingers to music before American jazz and musical theater, which sent a previously undiscovered current coursing through the body, demanding outlet. Heather Mac Donald, National Review, "The American Songbook," 22 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Good seafood needs very little in the way of jazzing up. Becky Krystal, Washington Post, "These are the 5 recipes our readers loved most this week," 30 Aug. 2019 At the start of the show, dressed in blue Nikes, jeans, and a maroon T-shirt with a plaid button-up shirt over it, Oswalt appeared jazzed by the whole endeavor. Zach Freeman, chicagotribune.com, "Patton Oswalt’s show got moved to a Wicker Park rooftop — so he messed with the neighbor in the next building," 15 Aug. 2019 The same city already known for its quirky downtown murals wants to jazz up intersections and crosswalks in and around downtown, dolling up plain old pavement with playful designs to give Hollywood streets an artsy vibe. Susannah Bryan, sun-sentinel.com, "These funky murals are for the streets. And maybe they’ll kick drivers into slow gear.," 4 Aug. 2019 The former, almost Mozartean in simplicity, is made up of bun, burger, bun, the ABA form so beloved by poets and troubadours, perhaps jazzed up by the addition of a condiment or two. Peter Meehan, Los Angeles Times, "A collection of Gold-isms: soft-porn videocassettes, Claes Oldenburg and Metallica," 18 July 2019 For girls, rainbow sequins are a simple way to jazz up casual shorts without much fuss. Niki Mcgloster, Essence, "Go Back To School in Style: 7 “sCOOL” Looks Your Kids Will Love," 13 Aug. 2019 At a time when women jazz musicians struggled mightily for any visibility, Berzon put her airtime to good use. Andrew Gilbert, The Mercury News, "Bay Area jazz women ready to celebrate a radio icon in Berkeley," 2 July 2019 Combine barbecue sauce with your favorite creamy salad dressing (such as ranch) to jazz up a summer salad. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Pulled chicken BBQ on a toasted bun," 18 June 2019 Amazon is counting on its latest Prime Day event to not only to jazz up its sales during the slower summer months but to convince more consumers to sign up for its $119 annual Prime membership since deals are only available to Prime members. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "Amazon Prime Day 2019: Don't make these 4 mistakes," 15 July 2019

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.

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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

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Learn More about jazz

Dictionary Entries near jazz





jazz ballet



Statistics for jazz

Last Updated

13 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for jazz

The first known use of jazz was in 1913

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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


\ 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on jazz

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with jazz

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for jazz

Spanish Central: Translation of jazz

Nglish: Translation of jazz for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of jazz for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about jazz

Comments on jazz

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


to fake an opponent out of position

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