Definition of jive in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /dʒʌɪv/


1A lively style of dance popular especially in the 1940s and 1950s, performed to swing music or rock and roll.
Example sentences
  • She'd added a little jazz to her dance this time, some quicksteps and jives.
  • In a hurly-burly whirl of tunes and groovy jives, Macbeth: The Rock Opera, which puts on its final performance at the Guild Theatre tonight, is rocking audiences, young and old.
  • Now, jobs figures still aren't dancing the jive yet, but prices are spiraling higher and higher, mocking the Fed's directorate for central planning.
1.1 [mass noun] Swing music.
Example sentences
  • The concerts have featured internationally renowned bands playing music as diverse as African dance music, ska, jive, salsa and Bhangra.
  • Off ice, she listens to all kinds of music but prefers jive and hip-hop.
  • Miller's distinctive big band timbre is the sound of a generation: swing and jive, romance and sweet sentiment, people and places.
1.2 [mass noun] A style of dance music popular in South Africa: township jive
More example sentences
  • Most popular music, however, tends to come from South Africa, with its rich history of township jive.
  • But what he found when he went to Johannesburg convinced him that an entire album could be built around township jive.
  • It is going to be a musical weekend this Easter, with classical music by the orchestra and township jive at Windybrow.
2 (also jive talk) [mass noun] A form of slang associated with black American jazz musicians.
Example sentences
  • With a name full of jargon jive and a cast of unknown comedians and aspiring actors, this marketed as a hip urban comedy sounds like a prescription for disaster.
  • Rarely is such a degree of lingua franca phrasing, of jazzy jive, to be found in his film reviews, and it is utterly absent from ‘Hollywood's Gift’.
  • Audrey II has started to talk and not just talk, but Shaft-like jive talk.
2.1North American informal Deceptive or worthless talk: a single image says more than any amount of blather and jive
More example sentences
  • It's also faster, although, as Smith says, a coyote may have more ‘jukes and jives.’
  • Yes, this film where Bachchan plays a millionaire whose riches and jives are only matched by Irani, is actually a father-son tale.
  • A popular jive at that time was ‘If the enemy comes, he will be drowned by the saliva of us.’


1 [no object] Perform the jive or a similar dance to popular music: people were jiving in the aisles
More example sentences
  • By midnight, everyone was on the dance floor, jiving to a number Archie knew he'd heard several times, but couldn't quite place a name on.
  • Everybody seemed to be enjoying themselves, dancing and jiving about.
  • Last October, the band had the audience jiving on the dance floor and helped raise more than £2,000 for Kingston Hospital's cancer unit appeal.
2 [with object] North American informal Taunt or sneer at: Willy kept jiving him until Jimmy left
More example sentences
  • And Johnson has some advice for people aspiring to a comfortable living playing music: ‘I've set it in my mind that I will not jive anybody, and not be jived by anybody.’
  • I turned the corner and, I jive you not, the first person I saw was Lamps.
2.1 [no object] Talk nonsense: he wasn’t jiving about that bartender
More example sentences
  • The very nature of God-given expression makes room for people to hum, pluck, and jive while giving concerns over society's woes.
  • The fact that Colmes, who is demonstrably brighter than that, can sit there and shuck and jive with this fool says a lot about him.


North American informal
Deceitful or worthless.
Example sentences
  • We all still have Zoidberg, but we all are jive turkeys.
  • But it's still a big jive turkey in need of a valuable lesson.



Example sentences
  • And it's good to go while the getting is good, but Miss Wolff has bad news for her friends and fellow country fans, rockabilly retro-ists and would-be jivers.
  • In a night of unprecedented nostalgia the rockers, the jivers and the waltzers descended on the ‘ballroom of romance’.
  • He was also a hoofer of some renown; often ‘spotted as a jiver ‘he had ‘no trouble getting his dances‘.


Example sentences
  • The jivey street talk, the ‘innits' and ‘wassups', dissolve into normal London accents when addressing an older white woman; the body language changes.
  • Barker's jivey style is occasionally annoying, but the unexpectedly sad ending rights what few wrongs there are.
  • For The Cold Six Thousand, Ellroy reverts to the jivey slang he used in White Jazz.


1920s (originally US denoting meaningless or misleading speech): of unknown origin; the later musical sense 'jazz' gave rise to 'dance performed to jazz' (1940s).

  • This was originally used in the US usage for meaningless or misleading speech. Its origin is unknown, but may be African. It came to be used for a type of fast jazz and for the slang of African American jazz musicians, with the meaning ‘a dance performed to jazz’ found in the 1940s.

Words that rhyme with jive

alive, arrive, chive, Clive, connive, contrive, deprive, dive, drive, five, gyve, hive, I've, live, MI5, revive, rive, shrive, skive, strive, survive, swive, thrive

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: jive

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.