[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 jostling

Contemporary Examples of jostling

Historical Examples of jostling

  • There was no scrambling or jostling for the hot water, no ill humour, no quarrelling.

  • Her brain was crowded with jostling thoughts, her heart with jostling feelings and fears.

    A Spirit in Prison

    Robert Hichens

  • And yet they were fighting their way, jostling each other in order to get first to the front.

    His Masterpiece

    Emile Zola

  • And it was there that Sandoz came upon him, amid the jostling.

    His Masterpiece

    Emile Zola

  • There's no occasion for jostling, there's room for everyone.


    Emile Zola

British Dictionary definitions for jostling


  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 jostling



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