verb (used with or without object), jabbed, jab·bing.

to poke, or thrust abruptly or sharply, as with the end or point of a stick.
to punch, especially with a short, quick blow.


a poke with the end or point of something; a sharp, quick thrust.
a short, quick punch.

Origin of jab

1815–25; variant, orig. Scots, of job2
Related formsjab·bing·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for jabbing

Contemporary Examples of jabbing

  • One of those who remained said, with a jabbing finger, that mine was the argument of someone “unaware of his gender privilege.”

    The Daily Beast logo
    Warning: This Column Will Offend You

    Michael Moynihan

    April 28, 2014

  • He was in fine form, ducking and jabbing on a number of tough questions and even getting laughs on some of his wry responses.

    The Daily Beast logo
    U.N. to Vote on Palestine

    September 27, 2011

Historical Examples of jabbing

  • The boy on Lucretia is jabbing her with the spurs, and she's cutting up.


    W. A. Fraser

  • He shot out his left hand, jabbing at the swarthy face of the Mexican.

    Spring Street

    James H. Richardson

  • His arm felt as though someone were jabbing it with a knife.

  • It will have to be jabbed in, but there are a lot of us ready to do the jabbing.

  • "Of course," said Carol, jabbing her hair pins in with startling energy.

    Prudence Says So

    Ethel Hueston

British Dictionary definitions for jabbing


verb jabs, jabbing or jabbed

to poke or thrust sharply
to strike with a quick short blow or blows


a sharp poke or stab
a quick short blow, esp (in boxing) a straight punch with the leading hand
informal an injectionpolio jabs
Derived Formsjabbing, adjectivejabbingly, adverb

Word Origin for jab

C19: originally Scottish variant of job
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

Word Origin and History for jabbing



1825, "to thrust with a point," Scottish variant of job "to strike, pierce, thrust," from Middle English jobben "to jab, thrust, peck" (late 15c.), of unknown origin, perhaps echoic. Related: Jabbed; jabbing.



1825, from jab (v.). Meaning "a punch with the fist" is from 1889. Sense of "injection with a hypodermic needle," beloved by headline writers, is from 1914.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper