verb (used with object), jos·tled, jos·tling.

  1. to bump, push, shove, brush against, or elbow roughly or rudely.
  2. to drive or force by, or as if by, pushing or shoving: The crowd jostled him into the subway.
  3. to exist in close contact or proximity with: The three families jostle each other in the small house.
  4. to contend with: rival gangs continually jostling each other.
  5. to unsettle; disturb: The thought jostled her complacency.
  6. Slang. to pick the pocket of.

verb (used without object), jos·tled, jos·tling.

  1. to bump or brush against someone or something, as in passing or in a crowd; push or shove (often followed by with, for, or against): He jostled for position.
  2. to exist in close contact or proximity with someone or something.
  3. to compete; contend.
  4. Slang. to pick pockets.


  1. a shock, push, bump, or brush against someone or something.


  1. to bump or push (someone) roughly
  2. to come or bring into contact
  3. to force (one’s way) by pushing


  1. the act of jostling
  2. a rough bump or push

1540s, justle, “to knock against,” formed from jousten (see joust) + frequentative suffix -tle. The usual spelling 17c.-18c. was justle. An earlier meaning of the word was “to have sex with” (c.1400). Meaning “to contend for the best position or place” is from 1610s. Related: Jostled; jostling. As a noun from c.1600.

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