[ jam ]
See synonyms for jam on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object),jammed, jam·ming.
  1. to press, squeeze, or wedge tightly between bodies or surfaces, so that motion or extrication is made difficult or impossible: The ship was jammed between two rocks.

  2. to bruise or crush by squeezing: She jammed her hand in the door.

  1. to fill too tightly; cram: He jammed the suitcase with clothing.

  2. to press, push, or thrust violently, as into a confined space or against some object: She jammed her foot on the brake.

  3. to fill or block up by crowding; pack or obstruct: Crowds jammed the doors.

  4. to put or place in position with a violent gesture (often followed by on): He jammed his hat on and stalked out of the room.

  5. to make (something) unworkable by causing parts to become stuck, blocked, caught, displaced, etc.: to jam a lock.

  6. Radio.

    • to interfere with (radio signals or the like) by sending out other signals of approximately the same frequency.

    • (of radio signals or the like) to interfere with (other signals).

  7. Music. to play (a piece) in a freely improvised, swinging way; jazz up: to jam both standard tunes and the classics.

  8. Nautical. to head (a sailing ship) as nearly as possible into the wind without putting it in stays or putting it wholly aback.

verb (used without object),jammed, jam·ming.
  1. to become stuck, wedged, fixed, blocked, etc.: This door jams easily.

  2. to press or push, often violently, as into a confined space or against one another: They jammed into the elevator.

  1. (of a machine, part, etc.) to become unworkable, as through the wedging or displacement of a part.

  2. Music. to participate in a jam session.

  3. to collaborate informally, freely, and creatively with others: Our department was jamming on a customer project and didn't have time to prep a demo for the conference.

  4. Slang.

    • to make good progress; do well: Working alone is awesome when I’m jamming on a project that I love.

    • to thoroughly like or enjoy something: The colors came out rather well, but I'm just not jamming on the actual image.

  1. the act of jamming or the state of being jammed.

  2. a mass of objects, vehicles, etc., jammed together or otherwise unable to move except slowly: a log jam; a traffic jam.

  1. Informal. a difficult or embarrassing situation; fix: He got himself into a jam with his boss.

  2. Music.

    • a piece of music: On November 18, the 16-year-old star dropped her new jam, marking an evolution in her sound and style.

  3. Slang.

    • something that one particularly likes, enjoys, or does well: Seriously, a huge meat patty and garlic fries are pretty much my jam after a day outside.Since math is not my jam, I’ll let y’all figure out the rest.

    • something that one finds pleasant or easy: Life isn't all jam for me just now.

  4. a contest, meeting, or conference at which people collaborate informally, freely, and creatively: People from 158 countries registered for the jam and shared their ideas for action to improve the quality of life in the world’s cities.

Origin of jam

First recorded in 1700–10; apparently imitative; cf. champ1, dam1

Other definitions for jam (2 of 3)

[ jam ]

  1. a preserve of whole fruit, slightly crushed, boiled with sugar: strawberry jam.

Origin of jam

First recorded in 1730–40; perhaps special use of jam1 (in the sense “to bruise or crush by squeezing”)

Other words from jam

  • jamlike, jammy, adjective

Other definitions for Jam. (3 of 3)


  1. Jamaica.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use jam in a sentence

  • He became the low-born, petty tradesman, using the language of the hands of his jam factory.

  • The system would be perfect for the mellowing of port or madeira, but when it is applied to plum and apple jam or, when 18 pr.

  • I dont think much of this jam pie, complained Chet, holding up a wedge that he had taken from his sisters basket.

  • A river a hundred feet in width was crossed by a convenient jam of logs and trees.

  • If anybody else offered him a bigger piece, or more jam, he would very quickly leave me.

    Digby Heathcote | W.H.G. Kingston

British Dictionary definitions for jam (1 of 3)


/ (dʒæm) /

verbjams, jamming or jammed
  1. (tr) to cram or wedge into or against something: to jam paper into an incinerator

  2. (tr) to crowd or pack: cars jammed the roads

  1. to make or become stuck or locked: the switch has jammed

  2. (tr often foll by on) to activate suddenly (esp in the phrase jam on the brakes)

  3. (tr) to block; congest: to jam the drain with rubbish

  4. (tr) to crush, bruise, or squeeze; smash

  5. radio to prevent the clear reception of (radio communications or radar signals) by transmitting other signals on the same frequency

  6. (intr) slang to play in a jam session

  1. a crowd or congestion in a confined space: a traffic jam

  2. the act of jamming or the state of being jammed

  1. informal a difficult situation; predicament: to help a friend out of a jam

Origin of jam

C18: probably of imitative origin; compare champ 1

Derived forms of jam

  • jammer, noun

British Dictionary definitions for jam (2 of 3)


/ (dʒæm) /

  1. a preserve containing fruit, which has been boiled with sugar until the mixture sets

  2. slang something desirable: you want jam on it

  1. jam today the principle of living for the moment

Origin of jam

C18: perhaps from jam 1 (the act of squeezing)

British Dictionary definitions for Jam. (3 of 3)


abbreviation for
  1. Jamaica

  2. Bible James

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with jam


see under get in a bind.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.