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[jam] /dʒæm/
a preserve of whole fruit, slightly crushed, boiled with sugar:
strawberry jam.
put on jam, Australian Slang. to adopt a self-important manner or use affected speech.
Origin of jam2
1720-30; perhaps special use of jam1
Related forms
jamlike, jammy, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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British Dictionary definitions for put-on-jam


verb jams, jamming, jammed
(transitive) to cram or wedge into or against something: to jam paper into an incinerator
(transitive) to crowd or pack: cars jammed the roads
to make or become stuck or locked: the switch has jammed
(transitive) often foll by on. to activate suddenly (esp in the phrase jam on the brakes)
(transitive) to block; congest: to jam the drain with rubbish
(transitive) to crush, bruise, or squeeze; smash
(radio) to prevent the clear reception of (radio communications or radar signals) by transmitting other signals on the same frequency
(intransitive) (slang) to play in a jam session
a crowd or congestion in a confined space: a traffic jam
the act of jamming or the state of being jammed
(informal) a difficult situation; predicament: to help a friend out of a jam
Derived Forms
jammer, noun
Word Origin
C18: probably of imitative origin; compare champ1


a preserve containing fruit, which has been boiled with sugar until the mixture sets
(slang) something desirable: you want jam on it
jam today, the principle of living for the moment
Word Origin
C18: perhaps from jam1 (the act of squeezing)
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 put-on-jam



"to press tightly," also "to become wedged," 1706, of unknown origin, perhaps a variant of champ (v.). Of a malfunction in the moving parts of machinery, by 1851. Sense of "cause interference in radio signals" is from 1914. Related: Jammed; jamming. The adverb is recorded from 1825, from the verb.


"fruit preserve," 1730s, probably a special use of jam (v.) with a sense of "crush fruit into a preserve."

"a tight pressing between two surfaces," 1806, from jam (v.). Jazz meaning "short, free improvised passage performed by the whole band" dates from 1929, and yielded jam session (1933); but this is perhaps from jam (n.1) in sense of "something sweet, something excellent." Sense of "machine blockage" is from 1890, which probably led to the colloquial meaning "predicament, tight spot," first recorded 1914.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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put-on-jam in Medicine

jam (jām)
v. jammed, jam·ming, jams

  1. To block, congest, or clog.

  2. To crush or bruise.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for put-on-jam

jam 1


: Jam bands do have styles


  1. A predicament; bind, tight spot (1914+)
  2. (also traffic jam) A tight crush of cars, people, etc; jam-up (1917+)
  3. Small objects like rings and watches that are easy to steal (1925+ Underworld)
  4. A party or gathering where jazz musicians play for or with one another; jam session: Bix and the boys would blow it free and the jam was on (1930s+ Jazz musicians)
  5. party: Are you going to the jam tonight? (1930s+)
  6. The vulva; a woman's genitals (1896+)
  7. Cocaine; nose candy (1960s+ Narcotics)


  1. To play jazz with great spontaneity, esp to improvise freely with other musicians and usually without an audience (1930s+ Jazz musicians)
  2. To have a good time; party joyously; get it on: As for us, we danced, we jammed, and we wondered
  3. To make up a rap song, esp in a competitive situation (1970s+ New York teenagers)
  4. To make trouble for; coerce or harass, esp with physical force: than when they're jammin' me for a penny every time I walk down the street/ He knows what to say that will jam you and not jam you (1960s+)
  5. To do the sex act; copulate; screw: Did what? Jammed (1970s+ Students)
  6. To auction; act as an auctioneer (1950s+ Hawkers)
  7. To send an interfering signal on a broadcast channel one wishes to make unintelligible: An attempt was made to jam (1914+)
  8. To run away; skedaddle: Let's jam!/ I shifted ionto high gear and jammed it up to Santa Teresa (1990s+)
  9. To pitch the ball close to the batter, so that he is forced to hit it close to the gripped end of the bat (1960s+ Baseball)
  10. slam dunk (1990s+ Basketball)

Related Terms

in a jam, jim-jam, logjam, toe jam

[all senses have some relation to the asi notion of squeezing or crushing so as to make jam]

jam 2


A heterosexual man

[1970s+ Homosexuals; said to be fr just a man]

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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Idioms and Phrases with put-on-jam


see under get in a bind
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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