jos·​tle | \ˈjä-səl \
jostled; jostling\ˈjā-​s(ə-​)liŋ \

Definition of jostle 

(Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to come in contact or into collision a jostling crowd

b : to make one's way by pushing and shoving people jostling toward the exit

c : to exist in close proximity

2 : to vie in gaining an objective : contend tribes began to jostle with one another for room— Daniel Defoe

transitive verb

1a : to come in contact or into collision with being jostled by the crowd

b : to force by pushing : elbow jostled his way through the crowd

c : to stir up : agitate thunder jostled us awake

d : to exist in close proximity with Europe, where a number of languages jostle each other— D. G. Mandelbaum

2 : to vie with in attaining an objective an enormous industry in which a great many companies and interests jostle each other fiercelyWashington Post



Definition of jostle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the experience of being pushed or jostled (see jostle entry 1) might glide through … life among them without a jostle— Thomas Jefferson

2 : the state of being crowded or pushed together : the state of being jostled the state fair is deliberately about the crowds and jostle, the noise and overload of sight and event— David Foster Wallace

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Examples of jostle in a Sentence


Everyone in the crowd was jostling each other trying to get a better view. everyone glared at the man who jostled to the front of the line

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Eight centuries later, no one is exactly jostling for the right to put a swan on their dinner table. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Inside the Royal Family’s Oddest Tradition: Swan Upping," 17 July 2018 For anything more than a few miles, the Nathan VaporAir ($150) holds two liters of water and has a big main compartment that fits between your shoulder blades, where the running motion can't jostle it around. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "How to Start Trail Running," 9 Sep. 2016 Sensors also get jostled and require periodic recalibration. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "This lidar/camera hybrid could be a powerful addition to driverless cars," 4 Sep. 2018 Between jostling pedestrians and moving cars for a good spot (use common sense, people), here are few tips for taking the perfect Manhattanhenge Instagram. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "Where to See Manhattanhenge 2018," 28 May 2018 The mood outside the Supreme Court soured quickly Monday night, as protesters screamed and jostled in a markedly hostile atmosphere after Trump announced his selection. Gregg Re, Fox News, "Kavanaugh nod touches off Supreme Court confirmation battle; Dems warn of 'deaths of countless women'," 10 July 2018 Conversations about Harry and Meghan are among the most popular in the U.K., jostling for the number-one slot with conversations about (a) Trump and (b) Brexit. Craig Brown, The Cut, "Can This Marriage Be Saved?," 1 May 2018 This year’s congressional primaries in New York are especially active thanks to a host of Democratic candidates (34 all told) jostling for position to take on the state’s nine Republican House members. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "New York House Races Headline June 26 State Primaries," 26 June 2018 During his stroll, crowds yelled out Kim’s name and jostled to take pictures, and the North Korean leader posed for a selfie with Singapore officials. Washington Post, "Trump, North Korea’s Kim come together for momentous summit," 13 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This allowed the jostle of distinctive forms, rather than a monolithic mass. John King,, "Well-crafted Jackson Square condos rich in design inspiration," 2 July 2018 In the engrossing West Cork, about the 1996 murder in Ireland of French filmmaker Sophie Toscan du Plantier, four accents in English jostle for dominance—and, with them, worldviews. Virginia Heffernan, WIRED, "Seduce Me! The Untainted Sweet Sounds of Accent-Riddled Podcasts," 1 June 2018 Bright blue banners for al-Sadr's election alliance jostle for space along streets lined with martyr posters and images of al-Sadr and his father. Susannah George, Fox News, "Iraqi Shiite cleric gained ground with nationalist voice," 14 May 2018 The sequence starts along the half-wall, where a cluster of white and black jerseys jostles for possession. Alex Prewitt,, "A Game of Oddities: Tampa Bay's Game 4 Win Over Boston Featured Several Puzzling Moments," 5 May 2018 After Allison grabbed the wheel, Martin felt the bus jostle and swerved to the right, off the road. Emily Foxhall, San Antonio Express-News, "Channelview band director hailed as hero in wake of Alabama bus crash," 14 Mar. 2018 The system uses hydraulic stops to help absorb and dissipate energy when the suspension compresses and rebounds, improving ride quality over bumps by limiting the typical jostle of springs and dampers. Greg Fink, Car and Driver, "Prickly Issue: Citroen Makes Its C4 Cactus More Normal," 6 Mar. 2018 These latest quakes were caused by the movement of tectonic plates, the pieces of Earth’s crust that move and jostle against each other. Maya Wei-haas, Smithsonian, "How Mexico City’s Unique Geology Makes Deadly Earthquakes Even Worse," 20 Sep. 2017 These onions go down amid what at times can be a crowded, chaotic scene, in which diners wait for seats and jostle for access to condiment dispensers, trash cans, silverware bins and soda machines. Matt Stiles,, "Costco stores in South Korea offer chopped onions for hot dogs. Koreans have a different idea," 19 Sep. 2017

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


1546, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a


1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for jostle


alteration of justle, frequentative of joust entry 1


see jostle entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near jostle

joss house

joss paper

joss stick





Statistics for jostle

Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for jostle

The first known use of jostle was in 1546

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More Definitions for jostle



English Language Learners Definition of jostle

: to push against (someone) while moving forward in a crowd of people


jos·​tle | \ˈjä-səl \
jostled; jostling

Kids Definition of jostle

: to push roughly … people were … jostling and trying to get a bit closer to the famous girl.— Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

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More from Merriam-Webster on jostle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with jostle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for jostle

Spanish Central: Translation of jostle

Nglish: Translation of jostle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of jostle for Arabic Speakers

Comments on jostle

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


to make faulty or ineffective

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