Share this entry

jaywalk Line breaks: jay|walk
Pronunciation: /ˈdʒeɪwɔːk/

Definition of jaywalk in English:


[no object, with adverbial of direction] chiefly North American
Cross or walk in the street or road unlawfully or without regard for approaching traffic: you jaywalked across a busy four-lane street
More example sentences
  • Then you might as well forget about walking to the traffic lights and just jaywalk in the middle of the street.
  • People are always in the street, crossing against the light or jaywalking across even busy avenues or through stopped traffic.
  • A taxi honked loudly as a scattering of pedestrians jaywalked across the street, myself included.


Early 20th century: from jay in the colloquial sense 'silly person' + walk.

  • The ‘jay’ in the word is the same as the bird, which has been used colloquially to mean ‘silly person’.



Example sentences
  • To be sure, jaywalkers put themselves and others at risk, and they can tie up traffic, but jaywalking is hardly the kind of offense that merits being maced.
  • The provision of pedestrian underpass between Kempegowda bus stand and the City railway station, some years ago, has kept the roads free of jaywalkers, but the intensity of traffic has been increasing.
  • The police here have figured out that, instead of targeting two-wheelers, cars, auto rickshaws, buses and lorries, many accidents can be avoided if jaywalkers are kept off roads.

Words that rhyme with jaywalk

smooth-talk • catwalk

Definition of jaywalk in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day fortissimo
Pronunciation: fɔːˈtɪsɪməʊ
(especially as a direction) very loud or loudly