- a small bus or car following a regular route along which it picks up and discharges passengers, originally charging each passenger five cents.
- Older Slang. a nickel; five-cent piece.
- to carry or ride in a jitney.
Origin of jitney
Examples from the Web for jitney
Mr. Gunn stopped his machine and came over to the other jitney.Four Little Blossoms at Brookside Farm
Mabel C. Hawley
But we can probably catch a jitney or something from Wilkes-Barre.Torchy As A Pa
His face was as empty of expression, as unmelodramatic, as that of a jitney driver.Free Air
He approached the spot where the girl had been left by the jitney driver.Ruth Fielding Down East
Alice B. Emerson
"If he gets in the auto-stage, we might hire a jitney," suggested Fatty.The Rover Boys at Colby Hall
Arthur M. Winfield
- a small bus that carries passengers for a low price, originally five cents
- slang a nickel; five cents
Word Origin and History for jitney
"bus which carries passengers for a fare," 1915, short for jitney bus (1906), American English, from gitney, said to be slang for any small coin, especially "a nickel," because the buses' fare typically was a nickel, the coin name perhaps via New Orleans from French jeton "coin-sized metal disk, slug, counter," from Old French jeter "to calculate," literally "to throw" (see jet (v.)).
"I'll give a nickel for a kiss,"
Said Cholly to a pretty miss.
"Skiddo," she cried, "you stingy cuss,"
"You're looking for a jitney buss."
["Jitney Jingle," 1915]
The origin and signification of the word was much discussed when the buses first appeared. Some reports say the slang word for "nickel" comes from the bus; most say the reverse, but there does not seem to be much record of jitney in a coin sense before the buses came along (a writer in "The Hub," August 1915, claims to have heard and used it as a small boy in San Francisco, and reported hearsay that "It has been in use there since the days of '49." In some sources it is said to be a St. Louis word, but most credit it to the U.S. West, especially California, though others trace it to "southern negroes, especially in Memphis" ["The Pacific," Feb. 7, 1915].