jos·​tle | \ ˈjä-səl How to pronounce jostle (audio) \
jostled; jostling\ ˈjā-​s(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce jostling (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 While everyone else jostles for a place in the European places, Manchester United and Tottenham are embroiled in a battle of their own, looking to assert themselves as the most hilariously terrible 'big six' side., "7 Things We Learned From a Potentially Defining Week of Premier League Action," 7 Oct. 2019 The law was just one of many ways lawmakers have curbed the power of cities in recent years and represented a big win for businesses like Airbnb, which have drawn scrutiny in cities where residents are jostling for space with vacation rentals. Andrew Oxford, azcentral, "Ducey says Arizona lawmakers will revisit laws on short-term rentals after outcry in Sedona," 22 Aug. 2019 In the end, more than 200 measurements suggested that two small worlds are jostling the star, each weighing in at approximately 1.1 times Earth’s mass. Nadia Drake, National Geographic, "Two potentially life-friendly planets found orbiting a nearby star," 18 June 2019 Moving forward, Nicola Davis reports for the Guardian, the researchers hope to examine whether squirrels keep an ear out for particular species and if the rodents rely mainly on bird chatter or general foraging and jostling sounds. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Squirrels Eavesdrop on Birds to Check If Danger Has Passed," 6 Sep. 2019 Being jostled around is not a good look for the best of actors. Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Another Life': TV Review," 22 July 2019 That means tectonic plates jostle each other over time. Anya Van Wagtendonk, Vox, "More earthquakes could come, but predicting them is difficult," 4 July 2019 But as the planet’s rocky plates continued to inexorably jostle about, this continent tumbled down into several subduction zones, Earth’s destructive geological maws. Robin George Andrews, National Geographic, "Lost continent revealed in new reconstruction of geologic history," 11 Sep. 2019 Two Houston ISD trustees filed paperwork Monday to seek re-election and will each face a single challenger, while several candidates will jostle to fill two other open seats on a school board that could soon be stripped of power. Jacob Carpenter, Houston Chronicle, "Two HISD trustees to seek re-election, two bow out," 19 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In the intense video, a large crowd jostles on the platform, waiting for the train to arrive. Ashley Boucher,, "Amazing Video Shows Moment Transit Worker Saves Man from Getting Hit by Speeding Train," 4 Nov. 2019 Inside the fortifications, churches such as the 12th-century St. Tryphon Cathedral jostle for space alongside museums, restaurants and souvenir shops. Erin E. Williams,, "Dubrovnik’s Dothraki-like hordes make Montenegro’s Bay of Kotor appealing," 11 Oct. 2019 Inside the fortifications, churches such as the 12th-century St. Tryphon Cathedral jostle for space alongside museums, restaurants and souvenir shops. Washington Post, "Dubrovnik’s Dothraki-like hordes make Montenegro’s Bay of Kotor appealing," 9 Oct. 2019 Tall pines that appear imported from a Scandinavian fairy tale jostle for space with palm trees and knotty scrub. Longreads, "Tramp Like Us," 18 Sep. 2019 Density waves, caused by the motion of shepherd moons within the rings, jostle and reshape the rings. Vahe Peroomian, The Conversation, "A brief astronomical history of Saturn’s amazing rings," 14 Aug. 2019 Push-carts loaded with sacks of grain bump and jostle through the hubbub. The Economist, "How do you reform a country where gunmen torch Ebola clinics?," 2 Aug. 2019 Bahand’s appointment comes at a crucial time in ties between Moscow and Kabul, as the Kremlin jostles for a new era of influence in the country. Washington Post, "This Afghan ambassador in Moscow mixes diplomacy and Dostoevsky," 20 July 2019 The deal is a setback for Sherwin-Williams as a few big U.S. paint makers buy up small rivals and jostle for market share. Austen Hufford, WSJ, "Berkshire Hathaway’s Benjamin Moore to Become Main Paint Supplier for Ace Hardware," 10 July 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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Time Traveler for jostle

Time Traveler

The first known use of jostle was in 1546

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Statistics for jostle

Last Updated

20 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Jostle.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 November 2019.

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More Definitions for jostle


How to pronounce jostle (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on jostle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for jostle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with jostle

Spanish Central: Translation of jostle

Nglish: Translation of jostle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of jostle for Arabic Speakers

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