\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

His hand jive, soul arches, and toreador-like flourishes play to the camera in a way that breaks the spell of the itinerant surfer in far-flung solitude. Jamie Brisick, The New Yorker, "Surfing in the Age of the Omnipresent Camera," 26 Aug. 2019 Why does Cherry Creek Drive shuck and jive between the north and south sides of Cherry Creek east of Colorado? Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: Incentives Gaylord could receive unknown; TABOR continues to be a hot topic (7/14/19)," 14 July 2019 But nothing could have spoken louder than his small, spontaneous gesture, his awe, far more powerful than today's HD histrionics and hand jive. Martha Teichner, CBS News, "Walter Cronkite and the awe of space exploration," 14 July 2019 That the truck driver was somewhat to blame jives with the immediate descriptions of the crash, which happened on the shuttle’s first day of operation. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Self-driving shuttle crashed in Las Vegas because manual controls were locked away," 11 July 2019 This beachside village mixes European hamlet vibe with old-school surf-shop jive, backdropped by a kaleidoscope of restaurants, bars and shops. Allen Pierleoni, The Mercury News, "A weekend of beachy fun in Capitola-by-the-Sea," 16 June 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

All were built after World War II to cheaply house the masses in a way that jived with communist ideology. Laura Mallonee, WIRED, "Ugly or Beautiful? The Housing Blocks Communism Left Behind," 6 Aug. 2019 This jives with what Steward said in his original Instagram announcement. Thom Craver, CBS News, "Patrick Stewart introduces new "Star Trek: Picard" trailer at San Diego Comic-Con," 20 July 2019 There are other parts of the TWA Hotel experience that don’t jive with present-day nostalgia for mid-century hospitality. Daisy Alioto, Condé Nast Traveler, "What’s the Real Appeal of the TWA Hotel?," 14 June 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Separately, the nonprofit works to ensure that digital skills are embedded throughout government, and that tech programs jive with the policies being implemented. Ally Marotti, chicagotribune.com, "Cook County is partnering with a tech nonprofit to expunge cannabis records. Here’s what to know about Code for America and Clear My Record.," 28 Aug. 2019 Chuckling at female servants accidentally shot in the face just doesn’t jive. Katie Walsh, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: ‘Ready or Not’ sacrifices horror for irony and laughs to skewer the 1 percent," 22 Aug. 2019 Chuckling at female servants accidentally shot in the face just doesn’t jive. Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘Ready or Not’ sacrifices horror for irony and laughs to skewer the 1 percent," 19 Aug. 2019 Hawkeye staring into camera cross-eyed wouldn’t exactly jive with the general tone. Tyler Aquilina, EW.com, "See the Avengers mightily goofing off in exclusive Endgame blooper reel clip," 24 July 2019 Those are subjective metrics that don’t immediately jive with the highly bureaucratized academic landscape, but can be useful at least in trying to imagine cutting off downstream harm. Sidney Fussell, The Atlantic, "When Research Data Escapes the University," 27 June 2019 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about jive

Dictionary Entries near jive








Statistics for jive

Last Updated

31 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for jive

The first known use of jive was in 1928

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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


to spread over or through

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things 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!