[ jaz ]
See synonyms for: jazzjazzedjazzing on Thesaurus.com

  1. 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.

  2. a style of dance music, popular especially in the 1920s, arranged for a large band and marked by some of the features of jazz.

  1. dancing or a dance performed to such music, as with violent bodily motions and gestures.

  2. Slang. liveliness; spirit; excitement.

  3. Slang. insincere, exaggerated, or pretentious talk: Don't give me any of that jazz about your great job!

  4. Slang. similar or related but unspecified things, activities, etc.: He goes for fishing and all that jazz.

  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of jazz.

verb (used with object)
  1. to play (music) in the manner of jazz.

  2. Informal.

    • to excite or enliven.

    • to accelerate.

  1. Slang: Vulgar. to copulate with.

verb (used without object)
  1. to dance to jazz music.

  2. to play or perform jazz music.

  1. Informal. to act or proceed with great energy or liveliness.

  2. Slang: Vulgar. to copulate.

Verb Phrases
  1. 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.

    • to accelerate.

Origin of jazz

1905–10, Americanism;1915–20 for def. 5; origin uncertain

Other words from jazz

  • jazzer, noun

Words Nearby jazz

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

How to use jazz in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for jazz


/ (dʒæz) /

  1. informal enthusiasm or liveliness

  1. slang rigmarole; paraphernalia: legal papers and all that jazz

  2. African-American slang, obsolete sexual intercourse

  3. Southern African slang a dance

  1. (intr) to play or dance to jazz music

  2. African-American slang, obsolete to have sexual intercourse with (a person)

Origin of jazz

C20: of unknown origin

Derived forms of jazz

  • 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.