Definition of jostle in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Push, elbow, or bump against (someone) roughly, typically in a crowd.

    no object ‘people jostled against us’
    ‘passengers arriving and departing, jostling one another’
    • ‘On it, you're constantly jostled, poked, elbowed and stepped on by your boogieing neighbours.’
    • ‘I was jostled, tugged along as if all these people were a tide.’
    • ‘Clark looked up to see two men who were obviously guards of some kind practically jostling him.’
    • ‘The room filled with nurses and doctors and I was jostled back into the hallway.’
    • ‘They booed and jostled him and only the expertise of the Special Branch ensured he got inside unscathed.’
    • ‘In my perambulations up and down Oxford Street and in the shops no one jostled me, no one got in my way.’
    • ‘She stood staring at the lion while students jostled her and pushed their way to their friends.’
    • ‘Walking slowly, she was slightly jostled about by the congested crowd of people on the sidewalk.’
    • ‘As I straightened up I was jostled, very slightly, by Doreen and her companion, hurrying to get past.’
    • ‘As she was jostled, the pain became so intense that she cried out before passing out cold.’
    • ‘Occasionally he was jostled by an elbow, but he just ignored them and kept going.’
    • ‘She was jostled with every step she took and was sure she was bruised from the larger and faster beings traveling down the walkways.’
    • ‘As I was jostled and bumped into the washroom, I saw a sight that would change my life forever.’
    • ‘Within seconds, we were surrounded by police, pushing and jostling us and telling us we couldn't go forward.’
    • ‘The next thing I knew, I was jostled and shoved around by people I could barely even see.’
    • ‘She tried to walk as quickly as possible without jostling the patient.’
    • ‘They never left her side all the time she was recuperating and they never bumped or jostled her.’
    • ‘Roop saw the look of eagerness on my face, and stuck close on my heels as the crowd jostled us forward.’
    • ‘I went to step closer to her, but Abby brushed past us, jostling me and Jen as she headed out of the barn to my car.’
    • ‘Shelley was hard-pressed to keep up as she was jostled with each step by dancing maniacs who didn't seem to care who they hit.’
    bump against, bump into, knock against, knock into, bang into, collide with, cannon into, plough into, jolt
    push, thrust, barge, shove, force, squeeze, elbow, shoulder, bulldoze
    struggle, vie, jockey, scramble, crowd one another
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1jostle forno object Struggle or compete forcefully for.
      ‘a jumble of images jostled for attention’
      • ‘But by the 10 am opening times things had got out of hand when a crowd of several hundred began jostling for position.’
      • ‘Till then, this overcrowded footpath will see pedestrians jostling for space.’
      • ‘In a competitive market where hundreds of brand names jostle for attention, several are emerging as the next big thing.’
      • ‘He shared the operating theatre with around 20 medical students, all elbowing and jostling for the best view.’
      • ‘Politics today is like a permanent campaign, with both sides jostling for public advantage on a daily basis.’
      • ‘We're both talkers, forever jostling for the other's ear.’
      • ‘Always painfully aware of their place in the pecking-order, they struggle and jostle for position.’
      • ‘Forget jostling for space on the platform with hundreds of other passengers only to find that your train has been delayed or cancelled.’
      • ‘The main attraction, though, has to be the generous beer garden which sees locals and tourists alike jostling for space.’
      • ‘They concluded that the village was less of a sleepy backwater than previously thought and more intensively settled, with houses jostling for space.’


  • The action of jostling.

    • ‘The construction workers wear soft eyes that soak up the morning sun, and the janitors have attentive ears that listen to the jostle of walking mobs.’
    • ‘The unpretentious, butter-hued dining room is calm then - underpopulated, even, compared to the Darwinian bray and jostle of jampacked evenings.’
    • ‘The resulting jostle of competing versions marks him more than any other poet, even Auden.’
    push, thrust, barge, ram, bump, bang, jolt, butt, knock, prod, poke, nudge, elbow, shoulder, jostle
    View synonyms


Late Middle English justle, from just, an earlier form of joust. The original sense was ‘have sexual intercourse with’; current senses date from the mid 16th century.