1. (US) a social gathering or party; a crowd.
|‘The Theatre’ in Rejected Addresses 105: All is bustle, squeeze, row, jabbering, and jam.|
|in Longfellow Life of H.W. Longfellow I (2003) 123: I have been several times to her evening jams; but, as it was Lent, there was no dancing .|
|Victim of Chancery 57: It is not our intention to give a detailed description of all the etiquette, or all the vulgarity, that is found at the ‘jam’ of a city Nabob.|
|Chicago Daily Journal 19 Feb. 3/1: Party succeeds to party, from a quiet little ‘social’ to the pretending and fashionable ‘Jam,’ where ‘wheeling about and turning about’ is the order of the evening [DA].|
|Trappers of Umbagog 3: One of those social gatherings that have been sometimes [...] not inaptly denominated a jam.|
|Confessions of Frivolous Girl 41: A nearly solid jam of girls, clustered together in chairs.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 24 Jan. 6/3: Then, in return for Graham’s ‘jam,’ friend Ballington expressed a ‘fervent wish for the future happiness and prosperity of the Chief Secretary,’ and the Harmy fired a volley of Amens.|
|Bodley Head Scott Fitzgerald V (1963) 181: People [...] Whole jam of them.‘May Day’ in|
2. in fig. uses, i.e. that which crushes.
(a) a problem, a difficult situation; usu. in a jam.
|in Ragtime Songbook (1965) 51: If you fool with me, you’ll get in a jam .|
|Harvester 81: Just at the wrong instant a box fell and knocked down a child and I got in a jam.|
|Hop-Heads 107: ‘Turk Street Paul,’ just now in a ‘jam,’ does business from an automobile.|
|Flirt and Flapper 66: Flapper: He’s got to be ready to get you out of jams.|
|Runyon on Broadway (1954) 88: Then I will be in a jam for witnessing the murder.‘Blood Pressure’ in|
|Limey 13: I saw in the papers that you were in a bit of a jam with the cops.|
|High Window 210: He sent for you. He told you he was in a jam and that if the law caught up with him, he would see that you were in the jam with him.|
|Amboy Dukes 83: Honest [...] you’re not in no jam.|
|Always Leave ’Em Dying 110: He’s in an awful jam, and you’ve got to unjam him.|
|Big Gold Dream 135: He figured every little bit he did for the police would help him if he got into a jam.|
|Tintin and the Land of Black Gold 20: We really are in a jam, and no mistake!|
|Dear ‘Herm’ 139: I am still in a jam.|
|L.A. Times 29 Mar. 136/1: He asks [...] ‘How did I get into all these jams?’ How indeed does one get into a jam as serious as first-degree murder?|
|He Died with His Eyes Open 182: You’ve got yourself in an almighty fucking jam, haven’t you?|
|Makes Me Wanna Holler (1995) 377: As long as he knows you’re going to bail him out, he’ll continue getting into jams.|
|Hip-Hop Connection Jan.–Feb. 45: I was like ‘Fuck it. I’m in a jam, my next record’s tied up’.|
|Alphaville (2011) 20: He got in a major jam with the local cops.|
|Finders Keepers (2016) 289: He’s in some kind of jam.|
(b) (US, also jamb) a disagreement or a fight.
|Big League (2004) 45: If you get into a jam to-day [...] I’ll fine you a month’s salary.‘The Bush League Demon’ in|
|Men without Women 68: ‘Did he have a jam with Soldier?’ ‘Not a jam [...] He just told him to go back to town.’.|
|Journal of Murder in Gaddis & Long (2002) 171: Rusk and Huntsville [...] are both due for the blow-off. [...] Baltimore is due for a jamb.|
|Action Stories June [Internet] So knowin’ you must be in some kind of a jamb, I just up and busted in.‘Sign of the Snake’|
|Runyon on Broadway (1954) 34: The best Dave can get is the worst of it in a jam with a newspaper guy.‘Romance in the Roaring Forties’ in|
|All Sports Feb. [Internet] I got in a jam back East with the burglar what managed me and I had to lam out.‘There’s Hicks In All Trades’ in|
|DAUL 109/2: Jam. [...] 2. (P) Difficulty with prison authorities or fellow convicts; a report or lock-up.et al.|
|Prison Sl. 90: Originally, a jam was a gang fight, but it has been expanded to mean any fight.|
(c) (US drugs) an overdose [‘it gets you in a jam’ (Spears, 1986)].
|AS XI:2 123/1: jam. An overdose of dope.‘Argot of the Und. Narcotic Addict’ Pt 1 in|
|Traffic In Narcotics 311: jam. An overdose of a drug.|
|Narcotics Lingo and Lore.|
3. (US black) swing or other popular music.
|inLife of the Party [film script] Who brought the jam to old Jamaica / Who made them swing in Singapore? [HDAS].|
|‘Jiver’s Bible’ in Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive.|
|(con. 1948) Flee the Angry Strangers 456: Let’s go up Tenth Street, Normie; they got some Sunday jam at Nelson’s. Let’s do listen to some good ole music. Some good Dixie.|
|Corner Boy 36: Dig this crazy jam.|
|Ladies’ Man (1985) 156: What a dynamite jam. I slipped it on the box. Just one record.|
4. (US black) a party with music.
|New Yorker 4 Feb. 34: I got into a jam attending a jam – one of those phonograph-record jams, or platter parties, to which each guest brings his or her favorite hot or blues recording.|
|Current Sl. III:3 8: Jam, n. A dance.|
|Third Ear n.p.: jam n. dance or party.|
|‘Huxtable House Party’ [lyrics] We’re throwing a jam that you don’t want to miss.|
|Westsiders 48: That’s when the block parties and the park jams that incubated hip-hop started.|
5. music in general, a song, a record, a performance of jazz, rock or rap music (orig. with a dance routine).
|Corner Boy 37: What’s the name of the jam? [record].|
|Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 206: The cats put on a platter by Miles and Bird, / the terriblest jam I ever heard.|
|Blood Brothers 159: They would throw on some heavy jams, some Curtis, some James Brown [...] you name it!|
|Nam (1982) 26: I liked listening to her. She put on some good jams.|
|‘Power’ [lyrics] That adds up to six years of makin’ ok jams.|
|Monster (1994) 275: ‘Remember that Temprees song [...] “We’ve Only Just Begun”’ [...] ‘Yeah, that’s a bad jam.’.|
|Dict. of Today’s Words 97: Jam – the noise level of a party or event, as in, ‘Let’s pump up the jam here’.et al.|
|Pimp’s Rap 7: I slipped the DJ five dollars to play the number one slow jam for us.|
|Campus Sl. Fall 6: Jams – music.|
|Killer Tune (2008) 25: No jam is a success until the crowd closes its eyes and feels the things it cannot see.|
|This Is How You Lose Her 95: You remember that José Chinga jam ‘Fly Tetas’?|
|Guardian G2 3 July 13/1: Some of the slower sex-centred jams are a bit suspect.|
6. (US gay) a spontaneous party that ends in an orgy or a big fight.
|Queens’ Vernacular 117: jam [...] 2. a spontaneous party often ending in a spirited orgy or free-for-all with fighting, etc.|
7. (W.I.) a crowd in a venue that is at full capacity.
|Official Dancehall Dict. 28: Jam capacity crowd: u. de dance last nite did jam, iah.|
(US campus) a portable stereo tape deck; latterly CD system.
|Campus Sl. Fall 3: jambox – a radio with a tape player.|
|Sl. and Sociability 15: Although slang items come and go, it is easier to pinpoint, and in some instances to explain, the comings than the goings. Ghetto blaster, jambox, and third world briefcase naturally did not come into this language before this past decade, because the ‘portable stereo tape deck’ had not been invented.|
|More Outrageous Ideas for Youth Ministry 151: They need to get a jambox and listen to a bunch of Christian tunes.|
|Teaching Guitar 9: A portable CD system (a jambox) works just fine.|
|Fly Fishing with Darth Vader 106: Students mount a crate and play a jambox that blasts the national anthem.|
(US Und.) an arrest without a specific charge.
|Und. and Prison Sl.|