Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A style of music, native to America, characterized by a strong but flexible rhythmic understructure with solo and ensemble improvisations on basic tunes and chord patterns and, more recently, a highly sophisticated harmonic idiom.
  • noun Big band dance music.
  • noun Animation; enthusiasm.
  • noun Nonsense.
  • noun Miscellaneous, unspecified things.
  • intransitive verb Music To play in a jazz style.
  • intransitive verb To utter exaggerations or lies to.
  • intransitive verb To give great pleasure to; excite.
  • intransitive verb To cause to accelerate.
  • intransitive verb To exaggerate or lie.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A type of music that originated in New Orleans around 1900 and developed through increasingly complex styles, but generally featuring intricate rhythms, improvisation, prominent solo segments, and great freedom in harmonic idiom played frequently in a polyphonic style, on various instruments including horn, saxophone, piano and percussion, but rarely stringed instruments.
  • noun empty or insincere or exaggerated talk.
  • noun A style of dance music popular in the 1920s; similar to New Orleans jazz but played by large bands.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun music A musical art form rooted in West African cultural and musical expression and in the African American blues tradition, with diverse influences over time, commonly characterized by blue notes, syncopation, swing, call and response, polyrhythms and improvisation.
  • noun Energy, excitement, excitability. Very lively.
  • noun The (in)tangible substance that goes into the makeup of a thing.
  • noun Unspecified thing(s).
  • noun Of excellent quality, the genuine article.
  • noun Nonsense.
  • verb To play jazz music.
  • verb To dance to the tunes of jazz music.
  • verb To enliven, brighten up, make more colourful or exciting; excite
  • verb To complicate.
  • verb transitive, US slang, dated To have sex with.
  • verb To destroy.
  • verb To distract/pester.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb have sexual intercourse with
  • noun a style of dance music popular in the 1920s; similar to New Orleans jazz but played by large bands
  • verb play something in the style of jazz
  • noun empty rhetoric or insincere or exaggerated talk
  • noun a genre of popular music that originated in New Orleans around 1900 and developed through increasingly complex styles

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Originally, vim, vigor, pep, copulation, semen, perhaps shortening of earlier jasm, vim, vigor and akin to jism.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Etymology uncertain. A detailed account is available in the Wikipedia article.

Examples

  • Could the word jazz already have been used in 1914 with reference to New Orleans music?

    The English Is Coming!

  • Could the word jazz already have been used in 1914 with reference to New Orleans music?

    The English Is Coming!

  • One view is that jazz could have found its way to Illinois in the person of Bert Kelly, a banjo player who moved from San Francisco to form a jazz ensemble in the Windy City.7 It appears that the word jazz was only subsequently adopted by Dixieland bands from New Orleans, by artists in Harlem, and throughout the United States.v

    The English Is Coming!

  • One view is that jazz could have found its way to Illinois in the person of Bert Kelly, a banjo player who moved from San Francisco to form a jazz ensemble in the Windy City.7 It appears that the word jazz was only subsequently adopted by Dixieland bands from New Orleans, by artists in Harlem, and throughout the United States.v

    The English Is Coming!

  • John Edward Hasse and Bob Blumenthal tell us that the term "jazz" originated in New Orleans around the beginning of the 20th century, and that the art form spread when early practitioners left home to perform around the world.

    Anthology by Committee

  • Over time, the word jazz in New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival has taken on a new meaning.

    It's Time for New Orleans Jazz Fest

  • Over time, the word jazz in New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival has taken on a new meaning.

    It's Time for New Orleans Jazz Fest

  • Among other things, Payton insists that the word jazz is racist and that deeply embedded societal oppression of black Americans necessitates a reclassification of the music.

    KansasCity.com: Front Page

  • While he admits that "the word jazz is like kryptonite" to many potential listeners, he also believes that "it represents tolerance."

    KansasCity.com: Front Page

  • "People don't realize how wide and how broad the word jazz is," Watson said.

    KansasCity.com: Front Page

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