I was reading an article and suddenly stumbled on a strange use of the word "jive":

Since 2014, according to the report, hundreds of ambulances have been called to the factory to treat workers.

This portrayal doesn’t quite jive with Musk’s world-changing vision.

Google provided the next reference about meanings of the word and I do not see anything appropriate to the example from the article:

jive /dʒʌɪv/

noun: jive; plural noun: jives; noun: jive talk; plural noun: jive talks

  1. a lively style of dance popular especially in the 1940s and 1950s, performed to swing music or rock and roll.

    swing music.

    a style of dance music popular in South Africa.

  2. a form of slang associated with black American jazz musicians.

    North American informal; deceptive or worthless talk.

verb: jive; 3rd person present: jives; past tense: jived; past participle: jived; gerund or present participle: jiving

  1. perform the jive or a similar dance to popular music.

  2. North American informal; taunt or sneer at.

    talk nonsense.

adjective: jive

  1. deceitful or worthless.

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

The meaning of "to jive with" from the article must be something like "to correlate with", but there is nothing similar in the Google reference.

So my questions are:

  • what is the meaning of "to jive with" in the article?

  • whether this meaning is widespread and common or is it some exception?

  • 1
    To jive means to correspond to. The portrayal does not correspond to the vision. Yes, it is very used. You see it all the time in many different contexts. It must have with accompanying it. X jives with Y.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 22, 2017 at 16:10
  • Never use the first thing on google. Also, similarly, never use one dictionary. Check at least three dictionaries. Really, it's the 21st century, it's pretty easy.
    – Mitch
    Commented May 22, 2017 at 16:58
  • 1
    Not rare at all. I'd say that use is more common in the US than the musical sense.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented May 22, 2017 at 17:06
  • Related: english.stackexchange.com/questions/20633/…
    – user66974
    Commented May 22, 2017 at 18:14

1 Answer 1


To jive meaning to agree with appears to be mainly an AmE usage according to the following sources. Note that jive and jibe are often used interchangeably in that respect:.

Usage notes from Wiktionary:

  • "Jive" and "jibe" have been used interchangeably in the US to indicate the concept "to agree or accord." While one recent dictionary accepts this usage of "jive," most sources consider it to be in error.

To jive and jibe:

According to the American dictionary Merriam-Webster, jibe is an intransitive verb meaning “to be in accord [with]” and gives as examples:

  • his account of the accident jibes pretty well with other accounts; their inferior status did not jibe with democratic ideals…

    This same American dictionary gives two definitions for jive as a verb:

  • to talk jive, or to fool around to dance to hot jazz, or to play hot jazz

The British Oxford English Dictionary flags jibe in the sense of “to agree with” as “chiefly U.S.” Unlike Merriam-Webster, however, the OED includes this definition under the word jive:


Also Grammarphobia notes about this typical AmE usage:

  • As you’ve noticed, “jive” is often used for “jibe” in the sense of agreement, though no authoritative dictionary considers this usage standard English.

  • The verb “jibe,” is a nautical term that refers to changing course by shifting a fore-and-aft sail from side to side while sailing before the wind. (Remember, British dictionaries spell the word “gybe.”)

  • However, “jibe” has another meaning that’s not etymologically related to the nautical usage: to agree or be consistent with, as in, “Those figures don’t jibe.” The Oxford English Dictionary describes this usage as “chiefly U.S.”

and the same usage is confirmed also the the Grammarist:

  • Jibe has a nautical use (relating to turning the sail to go on an opposite tack), but it’s most often used to mean agree or to be in accord.
  • 2
    I wouldn't trust anything from Wiktionary with further corroboration, and your second source ("americanenglishdoctor") seems flaky, to say the least. She correctly cites OED as including jive 1 b. intr. To make sense; to fit in. U.S. Cf. jibe v, but completely ignores the fact that both the entire entry and that specific subdefinition explicitly say it's U.S. She somehow manages to conclude from that: Apparently the mistaken use of “jive” for jibe has become so widespread that it’s on the road to becoming acceptable. At least from a British viewpoint. Tosh. Commented May 22, 2017 at 16:36
  • 1
    @FF - if you have a better answer I suggest you post I it instead of commenting.
    – user66974
    Commented May 22, 2017 at 16:57
  • 1
    Actually, I'd consider "jibe" to be the erroneous use.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented May 22, 2017 at 17:07
  • 1
    I'm not qualified to say how Americans (AAVE?) might distinguish or conflate jive/jibe - I'm just pointing out that I think your source is completely mistaken in claiming that conflation is so widespread that it’s on the road to becoming acceptable from a British viewpoint. Maybe literate Americans don't think of this as a "dialectal / erroneous" conflation, but I'd have thought practically all Brits do. Commented May 22, 2017 at 17:35
  • ...it could be relevant that there's a higher proportion of Spanish speakers in the US than the UK, and so far as I know they don't distinguish v from b in any context. Commented May 22, 2017 at 17:37

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.