[jos-uh l]
See more synonyms for jostle on
verb (used with object), jos·tled, jos·tling.
  1. to bump, push, shove, brush against, or elbow roughly or rudely.
  2. to drive or force by, or as if by, pushing or shoving: The crowd jostled him into the subway.
  3. to exist in close contact or proximity with: The three families jostle each other in the small house.
  4. to contend with: rival gangs continually jostling each other.
  5. to unsettle; disturb: The thought jostled her complacency.
  6. Slang. to pick the pocket of.
verb (used without object), jos·tled, jos·tling.
  1. to bump or brush against someone or something, as in passing or in a crowd; push or shove (often followed by with, for, or against): He jostled for position.
  2. to exist in close contact or proximity with someone or something.
  3. to compete; contend.
  4. Slang. to pick pockets.
  1. a shock, push, bump, or brush against someone or something.
Also justle.

Origin of jostle

1350–1400; variant (in Middle English, variant spelling) of justle, equivalent to just(en) to joust + -le
Related formsjos·tle·ment, nounjos·tler, nounun·jos·tled, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for jostle

Contemporary Examples of jostle

  • Outside of the U.S. embassy, thousands of Americans and Haitians jostle daily for a ticket off the island.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Desperate to Escape Haiti

    Joshua Robinson

    February 5, 2010

Historical Examples of jostle

British Dictionary definitions for jostle


  1. to bump or push (someone) roughly
  2. to come or bring into contact
  3. to force (one's way) by pushing
  1. the act of jostling
  2. a rough bump or push
Derived Formsjostlement, nounjostler, noun

Word Origin for jostle

C14: see joust
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

Word Origin and History for jostle

1540s, justle, "to knock against," formed from jousten (see joust) + frequentative suffix -tle. The usual spelling 17c.-18c. was justle. An earlier meaning of the word was "to have sex with" (c.1400). Meaning "to contend for the best position or place" is from 1610s. Related: Jostled; jostling. As a noun from c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper