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jos·​tle ˈjä-səl How to pronounce jostle (audio)
jostled; jostling ˈjā-s(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce jostle (audio)

intransitive verb

: to come in contact or into collision
a jostling crowd
: to make one's way by pushing and shoving
people jostling toward the exit
: to exist in close proximity
: to vie in gaining an objective : contend
tribes began to jostle with one another for roomDaniel Defoe

transitive verb

: to come in contact or into collision with
being jostled by the crowd
: to force by pushing : elbow
jostled his way through the crowd
: to stir up : agitate
thunder jostled us awake
: to exist in close proximity with
Europe, where a number of languages jostle each otherD. G. Mandelbaum
: to vie with in attaining an objective
an enormous industry in which a great many companies and interests jostle each other fiercelyWashington Post


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

Examples of jostle in a Sentence

Verb 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
Fellow Chinstrap Penguins can also destroy or dislodge one another’s eggs as the new parents jostle for space on the overcrowded nesting ground. Jack Tamisiea, Scientific American, 30 Nov. 2023 To keep the cards from jostling around too much, tie a heavy bead or hex nut at the bottom of each strand. Karen Hugg, Washington Post, 22 Nov. 2023 This is a great option if your phone gets jostled around a lot. Kurt Knutsson, Fox News, 23 Oct. 2023 But smell is increasingly becoming part of the brand strategy for companies in unexpected industries, as brands jostle for precious slivers of market share and especially as workers and clients begin to trickle back into office spaces. T.m. Brown, New York Times, 20 Oct. 2023 Powell’s comments jostled markets as investors were weighing bond yields’ ascent toward 5%, the continuing conflict between Israel and Hamas, and the influx of corporate earnings results from the third quarter. Eric Wallerstein, WSJ, 19 Oct. 2023 Words are already leaky containers, spilling out context whenever they’re jostled. Jayson Greene, Pitchfork, 17 Oct. 2023 Security members on both sides jostled with one another, and Danis was disqualified. Ryan Morik, Fox News, 14 Oct. 2023 Sacha, if he was dressed up as Brüno — and this did not happen with Borat — people would just jostle and slap him. Mikey O'Connell, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 Oct. 2023
The Barbie events will come as Gerwig’s film jostles with Christopher Nolan’s drama Oppenheimer for box office supremacy. José Sánchez Córdova, Dallas News, 11 July 2023 But to invoke hand-to-hand combat, and infliction of actual physical violence, as a jostle for computer-app supremacy does ring new bells. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, 23 June 2023 The bed jostles, a noiseless vibration, as heart monitors unstick themselves from her chest and retreat into the EKG monitor. Annalee Newitz, Rolling Stone, 28 June 2023 In Los Angeles or San Francisco, agitation of this sort was the usual jostle. Mark Arax, New York Times, 1 June 2023 The officer places his hand on the holster and hunches over while the two jostle outside the gas station. Olivia Diaz, Washington Post, 25 May 2023 As their twin narratives continue, Auburn jostles audience expectations, steering the story away from potentially melodramatic plot points, eschewing sentimentality — even offering a flight of fancy or two. Frank Rizzo, Variety, 26 Apr. 2023 With the loss, Dallas (36-37) fell 1.5 games behind sixth-place Golden State (38-36) in the jostle to finish among the top six automatic postseason qualifiers and avoid the 7th-through-10-place play-in tournament. Brad Townsend, Dallas News, 22 Mar. 2023 The case of the Marshall Islands is emblematic of the increasingly fervent geopolitical competition in the Pacific as the United States and China jostle for influence. Pete McKenzie, Washington Post, 27 Jan. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'jostle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Verb and Noun

alteration of justle, frequentative of joust entry 1

First Known Use


1546, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a


1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of jostle was in 1546

Dictionary Entries Near jostle

Cite this Entry

“Jostle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
jos·​tle ˈjäs-əl How to pronounce jostle (audio)
jostled; jostling -(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce jostle (audio)
: to run or knock against so as to jar : push roughly
: to make one's way by jostling


2 of 2 noun
: a jostling blow : shove

More from Merriam-Webster on jostle

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