a. A style of music, native to America, characterized by a strong but flexible rhythmic understructure with solo and ensemble improvisations on basic tunes and chord patterns and, more recently, a highly sophisticated harmonic idiom.
b. Big band dance music.
a. Animation; enthusiasm.
c. Miscellaneous, unspecified things: brought the food and all the jazz to go with it.
v. jazzed, jazz·ing, jazz·es
1. Music To play in a jazz style.
a. To utter exaggerations or lies to: Don't jazz me.
b. To give great pleasure to; excite: The surprise party jazzed the guest of honor.
c. To cause to accelerate.
To exaggerate or lie.
jazz up Slang
To make more interesting; enliven: jazzed up the living area with beaded curtains.
[Originally, vim, vigor, pep, copulation, semen, perhaps shortening of earlier jasm, vim, vigor and akin to JISM.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.