see also: JAM
  • (RP, America) IPA: /ˈdʒæm/
  • (Southern England, Australia) IPA: /ˈdʒæːm/


  1. A sweet mixture of fruit boiled with sugar and allowed to congeal. Often spread on bread or toast or used in jam tarts.
  2. (countable) A difficult situation.
    • 1975, Bob Dylan, Tangled Up in Blue
      She was married when we first met
      Soon to be divorced
      I helped her out of a jam, I guess
      But I used a little too much force.
  3. (countable) Blockage, congestion.
    A traffic jam caused us to miss the game's first period.
    a jam of logs in a river
  4. (countable, popular music) An informal, impromptu performance or rehearsal.
  5. (countable, by extension, informal) A song; a track.
    • 2001, Jet (volume 100, number 22, page 25)
      The result is an outstanding assortment of sophisticated, sexy and hip-hop-tinged R&B grooves, ballads and party jams.
  6. (countable, by extension) An informal event where people brainstorm and collaborate on projects.
    We came up with some new ideas at the game jam.
  7. (countable, baseball) A difficult situation for a pitcher or defending team.
    He's in a jam now, having walked the bases loaded with the cleanup hitter coming to bat.
  8. (countable, basketball) A forceful dunk.
  9. (countable, roller derby) A play during which points can be scored.
    Toughie scored four points in that jam.
  10. (climbing, countable) Any of several maneuvers requiring wedging of an extremity into a tight space.
    I used a whole series of fist and foot jams in that crack.
  11. (UK, slang) luck.
    He's got more jam than Waitrose.
  12. (slang) sexual relations or the contemplation of them.
Synonyms Translations Translations Translations Translations Verb

jam (jams, present participle jamming; past and past participle jammed)

  1. To get something stuck in a confined space.
    My foot got jammed in a gap between the rocks.
    Her poor little baby toe got jammed in the door.
    I jammed the top knuckle of my ring finger.
    • 1719, Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe, London: W. Taylor, 3rd edition, 1719, p. 226,
      The Ship, which by its Building was Spanish, stuck fast, jaum’d in between two Rocks; all the Stern and Quarter of her was beaten to Pieces with the Sea […]
  2. To brusquely force something into a space; cram, squeeze.
    They temporarily stopped the gas tank leak by jamming a piece of taffy into the hole.
    The rush-hour train was jammed with commuters.
    • 1779, George Colman, Farewell Epilogue, spoken at Wynnstay after the representation of Cymbeline and The Spanish Barber, 22 January, 1779, in Prose on Several Occasions: Accompanied with Some Pieces in Verse, London: T. Cadel, 1787, Volume 3, p. 283,
      Since the new post-horse tax, I dare engage
      That some folks here have travell’d in the Stage:
      Jamm’d in at midnight, in cold winter weather,
      The crouded passengers are glew’d together.
  3. To cause congestion or blockage. Often used with "up"
    A single accident can jam the roads for hours.
  4. To block or confuse a broadcast signal.
  5. (baseball) To throw a pitch at or near the batter's hands.
    Jones was jammed by the pitch.
  6. (music) To play music (especially improvisation as a group, or an informal unrehearsed session).
  7. To injure a finger or toe by sudden compression of the digit's tip.
    When he tripped on the step he jammed his toe.
  8. (roller derby) To attempt to score points.
    Toughie jammed four times in the second period.
  9. (nautical) To bring (a vessel) so close to the wind that half her upper sails are laid aback.
  10. (Canadian, informal) To give up on a date or some joint endeavour; stand up, chicken out, jam out.
Synonyms Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations
  • Russian: прищемля́ть

jam (plural jams)

  1. (dated) A kind of frock for children.

jam (plural jams)

  1. (mining) Alternative form of jamb


jam (plural jams)

  1. (UK, informal) A household that is only barely able to meet its financial obligations.

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