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[jos-uh l] /ˈdʒɒs əl/
verb (used with object), jostled, jostling.
to bump, push, shove, brush against, or elbow roughly or rudely.
to drive or force by, or as if by, pushing or shoving:
The crowd jostled him into the subway.
to exist in close contact or proximity with:
The three families jostle each other in the small house.
to contend with:
rival gangs continually jostling each other.
to unsettle; disturb:
The thought jostled her complacency.
Slang. to pick the pocket of.
verb (used without object), jostled, jostling.
to bump or brush against someone or something, as in passing or in a crowd; push or shove (often followed by with, for, or against):
He jostled for position.
to exist in close contact or proximity with someone or something.
to compete; contend.
Slang. to pick pockets.
a shock, push, bump, or brush against someone or something.
Also, justle.
Origin of jostle
1350-1400; variant (in Middle English, variant spelling) of justle, equivalent to just(en) to joust + -le
Related forms
jostlement, noun
jostler, noun
unjostled, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for jostle
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And working men may keep the wall, and jostle prince and peer.

  • Well; we, in trifling with this jingling toy, have had the ill-luck to jostle and fall out.

    Barnaby Rudge Charles Dickens
  • I have little fancy for the whirl of society, and none for the jostle of politics.

    The Prisoner of Zenda Anthony Hope
  • Your roads in life are so numerous and so varied, that you need not jostle.

    The Bramleighs Of Bishop's Folly Charles James Lever
  • Let us not jostle and crowd each other too harshly, while we are en route.

  • I wish you would row as carefully as you can, Neddie, so as not to jostle them much.

    Eventide Effie Afton
  • Some folk will answer that life itself settles all that, with its jostle and bustle.

    Laurus Nobilis Vernon Lee
  • Singularly, the circle parted right and left in a jostle and a scramble.

    Desert Dust Edwin L. Sabin
  • He did not seem to wear well with the people in the daily run and jostle of life.

    In Our Town William Allen White
British Dictionary definitions for jostle


to bump or push (someone) roughly
to come or bring into contact
to force (one's way) by pushing
the act of jostling
a rough bump or push
Derived Forms
jostlement, noun
jostler, noun
Word Origin
C14: see joust
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for jostle

1540s, justle, "to knock against," formed from jousten (see joust) + frequentative suffix -tle. The usual spelling 17c.-18c. was justle. An earlier meaning of the word was "to have sex with" (c.1400). Meaning "to contend for the best position or place" is from 1610s. Related: Jostled; jostling. As a noun from c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for jostle



To pick pockets: a junkie vocation known as ''jostling''/ always looking for cats who were down there jostling (1929+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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