music originating in New Orleans around the beginning of the 20th century and subsequently developing through various increasingly complex styles, generally marked by intricate, propulsive rhythms, polyphonic ensemble playing, improvisatory, virtuosic solos, melodic freedom, and a harmonic idiom ranging from simple diatonicism through chromaticism to atonality.
a style of dance music, popular especially in the 1920s, arranged for a large band and marked by some of the features of jazz.
dancing or a dance performed to such music, as with violent bodily motions and gestures.
Slang. liveliness; spirit; excitement.
Slang. insincere, exaggerated, or pretentious talk: Don't give me any of that jazz about your great job!
Slang. similar or related but unspecified things, activities, etc.: He goes for fishing and all that jazz.
of, relating to, or characteristic of jazz.
to play (music) in the manner of jazz.
to excite or enliven.
Slang: Vulgar. to copulate with.
to dance to jazz music.
to play or perform jazz music.
Informal. to act or proceed with great energy or liveliness.
Slang: Vulgar. to copulate.
jazz up, Informal.
to add liveliness, vigor, or excitement to.
to add ornamentation, color, or extra features to, in order to increase appeal or interest; embellish.
- jazzer, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use jazz in a sentence
He doesn’t tell — but presumably Willie Weeks is among the good guys, as is Hendrix, and Wooten’s real-life cohort, and the visiting faculty at his music camps, who tend, like Wooten, to fall along the jazz-country-virtuoso spectrum.The tale of a bass player, sonic epiphanies and a quest to save ‘real music’ | Ben Ratliff | February 12, 2021 | Washington Post
During a six-decade career, he won 23 Grammy Awards, more than any other jazz performer.Chick Corea, versatile pianist who made jazz eclectic and electric, dies at 79 | Matt Schudel | February 11, 2021 | Washington Post
That live performance, a tribute to health-care workers on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis, will feature band leader Jon Batiste, countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, jazz vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant and dancer Ayodele Casel.Arts in New York to get shot in the arm with celebrity-filled pop-up shows | Peter Marks | February 8, 2021 | Washington Post
Anderson biked until he was in his mid-80s and enjoyed listening to opera, jazz and symphony music.Frank Anderson, 87, cared passionately about feeding the homeless in D.C. | Dana Hedgpeth | February 5, 2021 | Washington Post
Yet it—like the blues, like jazz, like rock ’n’ roll—is part of who we are and where we’ve been.Inauguration Musical Performances Are Tricky. But Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks Did Exactly What We Needed Them to Do | Stephanie Zacharek | January 20, 2021 | Time
Ragtime, blues, country, jazz, soul, and rock and roll were all pioneered or inspired by black artists.
For the last three decades, he has garnered justifiable praise as one of best pianists in jazz.
I think posterity will enshrine this body of work among the classics of 21st century jazz.
“Sue (Or In a Season of Crime)” brings the rock chameleon into jazz territory, backed up by a horn-heavy jazz big band.
Do you see yourself setting a standard for classical chops in jazz?
The American influence has been felt to such an extent that King jazz is a universal potentate.My Wonderful Visit | Charlie Chaplin
I heard one stalwart old fellow declare he was going to vote for jazz.The Iron Puddler | James J. Davis
He performed the ceremony carelessly enough, and then lounged away whistling the latest jazz melody.The Riddle of the Mysterious Light | Mary E. Hanshew
And almost before you know it, you are playing your favorite pieces—jazz, ballads, classics.
Besides, she had not forgotten what Danby Force had said: “Things often happen in the mill after a jazz night.”Gypsy Flight | Roy J. Snell
British Dictionary definitions for jazz
a kind of music of African-American origin, characterized by syncopated rhythms, solo and group improvisation, and a variety of harmonic idioms and instrumental techniques. It exists in a number of styles: Compare blues See also bebop, bop 1 (def. 1), Dixieland, free (def. 7), hard bop, harmolodics, mainstream (def. 2), modern jazz, New Orleans jazz, swing (def. 28), trad
(as modifier): a jazz band
(in combination): a jazzman
informal enthusiasm or liveliness
slang rigmarole; paraphernalia: legal papers and all that jazz
African-American slang, obsolete sexual intercourse
Southern African slang a dance
(intr) to play or dance to jazz music
African-American slang, obsolete to have sexual intercourse with (a person)
- jazzer, noun
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
Cultural definitions for jazz
A form of American music that grew out of African-Americans' musical traditions at the beginning of the twentieth century. Jazz is generally considered a major contribution of the United States to the world of music. It quickly became a form of dance music, incorporating a “big beat” and solos by individual musicians. For many years, all jazz was improvised and taught orally, and even today jazz solos are often improvised. Over the years, the small groups of the original jazz players evolved into the “Big Bands” (led, for example, by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Glenn Miller), and finally into concert ensembles. Other famous jazz musicians include Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, and Ella Fitzgerald.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.