What's the origin of the word 'jive'? I'm partly confused because I thought "to jive" meant "to go well with," like "that approach jives well with me."

Then someone called me a jive turkey. Is that the same "jive"?

Looking at dictionary.com it's defined as "deceptive, exaggerated, or meaningless talk", "to engage in kidding, teasing, or exaggeration," etc. That works for "jive turkey" but not for what I originally thought "jive" meant. I think that meaning exists, though, as evidenced by the all-powerful google.

  • 1
    i'm going to split off the 'jive slang' part, that seems a separate question
    – Claudiu
    Oct 28, 2010 at 18:39

2 Answers 2


I think the "to go well with" meaning is actually a corruption of jibe a completely different sound alike.

  • oo yes now that I think about it, you're right! jibe is the word i was looking for. interesting that a jibe can also be an insult... any relation?
    – Claudiu
    Oct 28, 2010 at 17:55
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    jibe or gibe comes from the Middle French word giber "to handle roughly, shake, deriv. of gibe staff, billhook" the origin of the "in accord" jibe is a bit uncertain, it's an americanism, but I think it probably comes from the sailing word used to describe altering the fore and aft sails to match the wind. The variation of that word gybe is from the Dutch gijben. The confusion is understandable. :)
    – ghoppe
    Oct 29, 2010 at 0:39

"Jive" is jazz slang for nonsensical talk. It appears to be derived from the Wolof word "jev", meaning to speak about someone not present, especially disparagingly. Wolof, the main language in Senegal, was spoken by a majority of the slaves brought to America from west Africa.

See, for example, https://www.etymonline.com/word/jive

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