[ jamz ]
/ dʒæmz /
Save This Word!

noun (used with a plural verb)
Informal. pajamas.
We have a challenge that will make you blush: do you know the many words and ways to describe the opposite of red?
Question 1 of 7
Which of the following colors is used to symbolize AIR?

Origin of jams

First recorded in 1965–70; by shortening

Other definitions for jams (2 of 2)

[ jamz ]
/ dʒæmz /

a brand of baggy, brightly patterned, knee-length swim trunks.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does jams mean?

Jams is a very informal word for pajamas—the clothes you wear to sleep in.

The word jammies means the same thing but is more common. Terms like jammies, jams, and jam-jams are typically used by children, adults speaking to children, or people using childish words to be silly. A more common synonym for pajamas is p.j.’s, which is informal but not as informal as jammies.

You could say that whatever clothes children change into before going to bed are their jams. Traditionally, though, the word refers to clothes that were specifically made and sold for sleeping in, typically consisting of soft, loose-fitting pants or shorts and a (sometimes matching) top.

When adults use the words jams or jammies to refer to what they’re wearing, it’s usually to refer to clothes worn for sleeping, but not always. People sometimes use such terms to refer to the clothes they wear to lounge in, especially before bed, though the terms p.j.’s and pajamas are more likely to be used this way. In all cases, the word jams is used very informally.

The word jams is also the plural of the noun jam or a present-tense version of the verb jam, both of which have many meanings.

Example: OK, kids, time for bed—go brush your teeth and change into your dinosaur jams.

Where does jams come from?

The first records of the word jams in reference to pajamas come from the 1960s. It’s a shortening of the word pajamas, which has been used since the 1800s and comes from the Hindi pāyjāma, from the Persian pāy, meaning “leg,” and jāma, meaning “garment.”

Originally, the word pajamas referred to loose-fitting pants worn in parts of Asia, usually made of silk or cotton. It then came to refer to a style of women’s pants, especially ones flared at the bottom, worn as leisurewear. Eventually, the word’s association with loose-fitting clothing resulted in its use as a term for sleepwear. The word jams is almost always used to refer to sleepwear.

Did you know ... ?

What are some synonyms for jams?

What are some words that share a root or word element with jams

What are some words that often get used in discussing jams?


How is jams used in real life?

The term jams is typically used in the context of the pajamas worn by children. The word jammies means the same thing but is more common.



Try using jams!

Which of the following words is a synonym of jams?

A. jammies
B. jam-jams
C. p.j.’s
D. all of the above

How to use jams in a sentence