jitney

noun
jit·​ney | \ ˈjit-nē How to pronounce jitney (audio) \
plural jitneys

Definition of jitney

1 : an unlicensed taxicab
2 [from the original 5 cent fare] : bus sense 1a especially : a small bus that carries passengers over a regular route on a flexible schedule

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

Jitneys weren't worth a dime - just a nickel. In the early 1900s, jitney was slang for "nickel," but it wasn't long before the term was applied to a new mode of public transportation that only cost a nickel. When they were introduced in American cities at the beginning of the century, vehicular jitneys could be any automobiles that carried passengers over a set route for a cheap fare, but eventually the term was applied specifically to small buses. In the mid-1900s, the word jitney was combined with jeep to create a new coinage: jeepney, meaning "a Philippine jitney bus converted from a jeep."

Examples of jitney in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web On July 20, 1916, The Chronicle ran an editorial supporting a jitney bus ban from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. Bill Van Niekerken, SFChronicle.com, "Archive find: 100-year-old photos of Market Street’s public past — and plans for its future," 15 Jan. 2020 There is a motif of animals transported on vehicles, such as a placid duck riding in the back of a jitney and a nervous sheep in a cage being hauled by a tractor. Peter Keough, BostonGlobe.com, "On the mat, on film, on his way, on the road," 5 July 2018 For travel to Jersey City and New York, many residents rely on the jitney buses that run along several of Union City’s north-south arteries, and cost between $1.50 and $5 a ride, depending on the destination. New York Times, "Union City, N.J.: Close to the City, but Still Affordable," 9 May 2018 The new motorcars led to a jitney craze in cities across the country. Gary Kamiya, San Francisco Chronicle, "SF bad guys get away in a car. In 1915, that was big news," 2 Mar. 2018 Long before Uber came around America had jitney drivers using their personal vehicles to cart paying passengers around. Ed Wallace, star-telegram, "Uneasy Rider," 21 Apr. 2018 America’s first carpooling system can be traced back to the early 1900s, when jitneys – private drivers looking to make extra money – started popping up in Los Angeles. Story Hinckley, The Christian Science Monitor, "Are your Uber and Lyft accounts worsening traffic?," 4 Apr. 2018 In San Francisco, a fleet of 600 jitneys began carrying passengers from the Ferry Building to the Castro for 5 cents. Gary Kamiya, San Francisco Chronicle, "SF bad guys get away in a car. In 1915, that was big news," 2 Mar. 2018 This incident proved the undoing of the jitney gang. Gary Kamiya, San Francisco Chronicle, "SF bad guys get away in a car. In 1915, that was big news," 2 Mar. 2018

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

1899, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for jitney

origin unknown

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about jitney

Time Traveler for jitney

Time Traveler

The first known use of jitney was in 1899

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about jitney

Statistics for jitney

Cite this Entry

“Jitney.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jitney. Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on jitney

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for jitney

Comments on jitney

What made you want to look up jitney? 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

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

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!