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

  • intransitive verb To come in rough contact while moving; push and shove.
  • intransitive verb To make one's way by pushing or elbowing.
  • intransitive verb To vie for an advantage or position.
  • intransitive verb To come into rough contact with while moving.
  • intransitive verb To force by pushing or elbowing.
  • intransitive verb To vie with for an advantage or position.
  • intransitive verb To shake or agitate.
  • noun A rough shove or agitating movement.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A pushing about or crowding; a shock or encounter.
  • To push against; crowd against so as to render unsteady; elbow; hustle.
  • To check.
  • To hustle; shove and be shoved about, as in a crowd.

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

  • intransitive verb To push; to crowd; to hustle.
  • transitive verb To run against and shake; to push out of the way; to elbow; to hustle; to disturb by crowding; to crowd against.
  • noun A conflict by collisions; a crowding or bumping together; interference.

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

  • verb transitive, intransitive To bump into or brush against while in motion.
  • verb intransitive To move through by pushing and shoving.
  • verb transitive To be close to or in physical contact with.
  • verb intransitive To contend or vie in order to acquire something.
  • verb To pick or attempt to pick pockets.
  • noun An experience in which jostling occurs.
  • noun Being crowded or in a condition of jostling.

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

  • verb come into rough contact with while moving
  • noun the act of jostling (forcing your way by pushing)
  • verb make one's way by jostling, pushing, or shoving


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

[Middle English justilen, to have sexual relations with, frequentative of justen, to joust, from Old French juster; see joust.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Originally justle ("to have sex with"), formed from jousten + -tle; from the Old French joster ("to joust"), from Latin iuxtā ("next to"), from iungō ("join, connect").


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word jostle.


  • I figure perhaps I can speak a word to jostle him from his entrenched vow to seek revenge.

    Tattoos on the Heart Gregory Boyle 2010

  • Once long ago I was in the _Herald_ office with a note to Chaffner the big chief, and I gave him a little word jostle as I passed it over.

    Michael O'Halloran Gene Stratton-Porter 1893

  • The Ottomans were certainly in conflict with Europeans for centuries--they entered the Balkans in the 14th century and they besieged Vienna as recently as 1683; but they certainly did not "jostle" the Crusaders for centuries.

    Daimnation!: NY Times blames Crusaders--wrongly 2006

  • Theriot was suspended for causing his mount to "jostle"

    unknown title 2009

  • A far-reaching partnership with SAIC is a central part of GM's strategy to manage business in China, where conditions are increasingly challenging as global auto makers and local manufacturers jostle for market share and must contend with government regulation.

    GM Deepens China Auto Alliance Sharon Terlep 2011

  • Such is Mr. Cecchini's cult status, doubtless assisted by Bill Buford's extravagant portrait of the Italian in his book "Heat," that it is a considerable task to enter his modest butcher shop, given the likelihood of having to jostle past German camera crews and crowds from Japan.

    Dishing on a Classic Bruce Palling 2011

  • When more spectrum needed for one use, inevitably various interests will throw a few elbows as they jostle for precious real estate.

    Jonathan Spalter: The Spectrum Shot Clock Jonathan Spalter 2011

  • Analysts said they expect domestic mobile operators to see weaker earnings in the quarters to come due to higher marketing costs as carriers jostle for market share in the ultra-fast network segment.

    KT Corp's Net Profit Rises Jung-Ah Lee 2012

  • The bonuses paid to senior executives at RBS and Lloyds, which the government bailed out during the credit crisis, have become a totemic issue as the U.K.'s main political parties jostle to show which of them has the fairest economic policies.

    U.K. Caps Part-State Bank Bonuses Nicholas Winning 2012

  • Analysts say that while investment banks would likely happily jostle to handle any major government selling of shares, without law changes, the amount that could be freed up would be limited.

    Japan Considers Selling State Firms to Fund Rebuilding Andrew Monahan 2011


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • A word that sounds nicer than it is, especially if you happen to be on a crowded bus or streetcar.

    November 29, 2007

  • I don't know, a friendly jostle on public transit can be a pleasant way to wake up.

    November 30, 2007

  • An unfriendly jostle, on the other hand....

    November 30, 2007

  • Go on, read yarb's comment in the context of the etymology.

    May 22, 2018