\ ˈjīv How to pronounce jive (audio) \

Definition of jive

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : glib, deceptive, or foolish talk tired of listening to his jive
b : the jargon of hipsters
c : a special jargon of difficult or slang terms street jive
2 : swing music or the dancing performed to it


jived; jiving

Definition of jive (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to say foolish, deceptive, or unserious things to (someone) He's jiving you.

intransitive verb

1 : to talk in a foolish, deceptive, or unserious way : to talk jive (see jive entry 1 sense 1) He's just jiving.
2 : to dance to or play jive (see jive entry 1 sense 2)



Definition of jive (Entry 3 of 3)

: phony if you are late getting to heaven, you will give Saint Peter some jive excuse— Langston Hughes

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Other Words from jive


jivey \ ˈjī-​vē How to pronounce jivey (audio) \ adjective

Jive vs. Jibe

People began confusing jive and jibe almost immediately after jive entered our language in the late 1920s. In particular, jive is often used as a variant for the sense of jibe meaning “agree,” as in “that doesn’t jive with my memory of what happened.” This use of jive, although increasingly common, is widely considered to be an error. Jibe, however, is accepted as a variant spelling of an entirely different word, which is gibe (“to utter taunting words”).

Examples of jive in a Sentence


She grew up talking street jive. I'm tired of listening to your jive.


I know he's just jiving me. Don't take him seriously—he's just jiving. Everyone was jiving to the beat.


don't give me that jive talk about me being your new best friend
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Each manufacturer speaks hand jive a little differently. Dan Neil, WSJ, "2019 Acura RDX: Have High-Tech Interfaces Gone Too Far?," 28 Sep. 2018 The variously slinky and driven choreography features such sidelights as pratfalls, teasingly competitive back-and-forth accents, sassy shoulder shimmies and snappy hand jives. Robert Greskovic, WSJ, "‘Minimalism and Me’ Review: Twyla Tharp Tells Her Story," 19 Nov. 2018 Dance, jive, have the time of your life by watching below. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "'Mamma Mia!' Cast Delivers 'Dancing Queen' Lyric Video: Watch," 11 July 2018 The rockabilly cats and kittens who attend festivals like Viva Las Vegas continue to dig a little Louis Prima jive with their Gene Vincent hiccup and twang. Kenneth Partridge, Billboard, "In Defense of the Swing Revival: Why America Flipped for '40s Sounds in 1998," 29 May 2018 No jive from Shuck: The journeyman, whose contract was selected before the game from Triple-A New Orleans, made an immediate impact with a stand-up triple to right-center in the second inning off Chad Kuhl. Craig Davis, Sun-Sentinel.com, "JB Shuck's four hits in Marlins debut aids Dillon Peters to bounce-back win," 14 Apr. 2018 Also collecting 24 points were Terrell Owens for an emotional Viennese waltz, Nikki Bella for a contemporary dance about a comeback from injury, Sasha Pieterse for a foxtrot, Vanessa Lachey for a rumba and Drew Scott for a jive. Hal Boedeker, OrlandoSentinel.com, "'Dancing With the Stars': Who's out, who wowed," 9 Oct. 2017 Len Goodman called the jive the dance of the season so far, and Carrie Ann Inaba said the routine was one of her favorites in the show’s history. Hal Boedeker, OrlandoSentinel.com, "'Dancing With the Stars': Where's Maks?," 3 Oct. 2017 Former football star Terrell Owens displayed great charm on a jive honoring spy movies. Hal Boedeker, OrlandoSentinel.com, "'Dancing With the Stars': Mad scientist wins night," 23 Oct. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Spears has never seemed to fully jive with the idea of fame: as a girl from McComb, Mississippi, who went on to become one of the globe’s biggest and most provocative pop stars, her dual personalities have long seemed at odds with each other. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "What Exactly Is Going on With Britney Spears?," 15 May 2019 Gray hair—fake or natural—must jive with your coloring to work. Rory Satran, WSJ, "The Hottest Hair Color of the Moment is...Gray," 17 Jan. 2019 That jives with a video posted to YouTube in September showing a Waymo vehicle struggling to merge onto a California freeway. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Even self-driving leader Waymo is struggling to reach full autonomy," 7 Dec. 2018 Wild and chaotic do not jive with traditional design. Sienna Fantozzi, House Beautiful, "Everything You Need To Know About Traditional Design," 12 Oct. 2018 America was ready to come inside and learn how to jive an’ wail. Kenneth Partridge, Billboard, "In Defense of the Swing Revival: Why America Flipped for '40s Sounds in 1998," 29 May 2018 That type of data jives with what dermatologists see in their practices, says Melanie Grossman, a dermatologist based in New York City. Dina Fine Maron, Scientific American, "Fact or Fiction?: If You Shave (or Wax), Your Hair Will Come Back Thicker," 26 Aug. 2014 This jives with results of a study published last year among more than 8,000 adults, almost 80 percent of whom reported eating fast food at least once a week. Samantha Cassetty, NBC News, "How to make your fast food habit healthier," 20 June 2018 Given their prominent presentation and evident attraction for each other, Mr. Phifer and Ms. Yorita remain dominant, jiving and cavorting in and around a bed and a room. Robert Greskovic, WSJ, "BalletX Review: Philadelphia Footwork," 12 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Timers and meditation just don’t seem to jive, but the others sound reasonable enough, especially when most digital clocks on your phone or computer won’t have such a large interface to watch the time tick down. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "Amazon’s Echo Wall Clock now shipping for $30," 14 Dec. 2018 But to Mexican-American youth, the suit was the staple of a rebellious subculture that was defined by jazz music, swing dancing, marijuana smoking, and jive slang. Mariana Gonzalez, Teen Vogue, "How the Zoot Suit Became a Symbol of Resistance for Mexican-American People," 21 Sep. 2018 This, somehow, does not jive with the optics of what players and coaches are seeing. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "Video Review Is Making the World Cup More Accurate—and Uglier, Too," 29 June 2018 Everyone knew this was a rocky idea from the start, not just because Magro had seemingly cheated on Harley with a girl from a club, but because Harley was seven months pregnant, and their lifestyle does not jive with an unborn baby. Kathryn Lindsay, refinery29.com, "Ronnie Reached A New Low On Last Night's Jersey Shore," 11 May 2018 Good news dancing queens — ABBA has two new songs for you to jive to! Maria Pasquini, PEOPLE.com, "Thank You for the (New) Music! ABBA Releasing First Songs in 35 Years," 27 Apr. 2018 Carrie White’s slip dress is unimpressive before being covered with blood; Sandy Olsson’s hand jive attire is basic, white ’50s kitsch. Esther Zuckerman, The Cut, "Finally, a Movie That Gets Prom Dresses Right," 13 Apr. 2018 My muscle-building aspirations just didn't jive with the traditional expectations of Asian women that they were used to. Jessica Tran, SELF, "How I Learned to Love Being Swole and Asian," 29 Mar. 2018 Maxine, Miss New York State in 1979, and Kirt, whose jive-talk rhymes add to the quirky ambiance, are definitely part of the brunch experience. George Diaz, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Maxine's Shines as the King and Queen of Orlando Brunch," 13 Oct. 2017

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


1928, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1928, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1953, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for jive

Noun, Verb, and Adjective

origin unknown

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Dictionary Entries near jive








Statistics for jive

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Time Traveler for jive

The first known use of jive was in 1928

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More Definitions for jive



English Language Learners Definition of jive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

informal + somewhat old-fashioned
: informal language that includes many slang terms
: deceptive or foolish talk
: a type of fast lively music that was especially popular in the early part of the 20th century also : a dance performed to this type of music



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

informal + somewhat old-fashioned
US : to say foolish or deceptive things to (someone)
: to dance to or play jive music

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More from Merriam-Webster on jive

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with jive

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for jive

Nglish: Translation of jive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about jive

Comments on jive

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behavior toward others

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