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

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

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: Verb To be sure, outside events can temporarily jostle investors. Washington Post, "Stocks drive higher, brushing aside worries about U.S. stability," 14 Jan. 2021 As a result, it's been a free-for-all in recent weeks as manufacturers, grocers, bank tellers, dentists and drive-share companies all jostle to get a spot near the front of the line. Rachel Bluth And Phil Galewitz, CNN, "Farmworkers, Firefighters and Flight Attendants Jockey for Vaccine Priority," 14 Dec. 2020 The quake was the second to jostle the San Diego area in as many days. Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Small offshore quake lightly shakes San Diego County," 5 Dec. 2020 Although private cars were eliminated from the scene in January, buses, streetcars, taxis, delivery vans, scooters, bikes, wheelchair users and pedestrians still jostle for space. Mallory Moench,, "Another pandemic blow: S.F.’s ambitious plan to redesign Market Street," 29 Oct. 2020 Shoppers won't have to jostle each other for early bird doorbusters at Target this holiday. Nicole Norfleet, Star Tribune, "No early morning hours for Target this Black Friday," 22 Oct. 2020 There are also far less obvious forces that will jostle the memories of anyone who endured a high school physics class. Matthew Futterman, New York Times, "At the French Open, Cold Weather and a Ball That Will Not Behave," 28 Sep. 2020 Consumer-grade jewelry cleaners can jostle the expensive stones out of their setting, forcing a trip to the jewelers to have your diamond re-set. Sara Rodrigues, House Beautiful, "How to Clean a Diamond Ring Without a Trip to the Jewelers," 19 Aug. 2020 Among them: locals who are unable or reluctant to travel are rediscovering attractions where foreign tourists used to jostle for elbow space. John Leicester, USA TODAY, "'Survival of the fittest': Tourism continues to falter worldwide amid pandemic," 1 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Hence this jostle for market dominance, which has been a windfall for audiences willing to brave the fire hose in search of quality. Nina Metz,, "Year in review: 2020 was the Year of Streaming, both a windfall and a glut.," 14 Dec. 2020 Monday’s visit provided Lepré the rare opportunity of studying the Mona Lisa up close, without having to jockey for elbow room and jostle for space. Vivian Song, Smithsonian Magazine, "How the Pandemic Is Giving the Louvre Back to Parisians," 7 July 2020 The blue and white of the Saltire jostle with the red and yellow of the Estelada, the banner of Catalonia’s separatist movement. The Economist, "Scotland How the Scottish National Party risks turning Caledonia into Catalonia," 8 Aug. 2020 Through the glass, gowned staff jostle tightly together and circle the patient's head; to replace tubes; to shift posture; to switch their position and relieve each other from the exhausting task. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, "Bolsonaro calls coronavirus a 'little flu.' Inside Brazil's hospitals, doctors know the horrifying reality," 23 May 2020 Streets have now been emptied and six-foot grids have been implemented in order to guard against not just bodies but the jostle of existing in a diverse society: confrontations, connection, and accidents, happy and sad. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "The Pandemic Has Made a Mockery of Minimalism," 23 Apr. 2020 The flavors — funk, sour, astringent, sweet, fat — jostle for attention in your mouth, and somehow the totality ends up tasting like sweat. Soleil Ho,, "The beer hall Fort Point Valencia: A very San Francisco brand of bar food," 30 Jan. 2020 Rival arms of the state, including the security forces, jostle for influence. The Economist, "Trapped in Iran," 28 Jan. 2020 What feels uniquely contemporary, in the case of the Clio ad and others like it, is how the prerogatives of clickbait and the trappings of awards-bait jostle against each other within its borders. Jonah Weiner, New York Times, "Is the Viral Non-Ad Ad the Future of Advertising?," 11 Nov. 2019

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

Verb and Noun

alteration of justle, frequentative of joust entry 1

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Statistics for jostle

Last Updated

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Jostle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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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 How to pronounce jostle (audio) \
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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