Green’s Dictionary of Slang

jive n.1

[SE jibe, to scoff, to sneer]

1. [1920s–70s] (US black) sexual intercourse, also a sex partner.

2. [1920s+] (orig. US black) nonsense, rubbish, insincere, deceitful or pretentious talk [note Burley, Orig. Handbook of Harlem Jive (1944): ‘Jive is a distortion of that staid, old, respectable English word “jibe” — jibber — speak fast and inarticulately, chatter [...] Jibberish — unintelligible speech, meaningless sounds, jargon, blundering or ungrammatical talk’; he dates it to Chicago, 1921; Mezzrow & Wolfe, Really the Blues (1946): ‘The word jive probably comes from the old English word jibe, out of which came the words jibberish and gibberish, describing sound without meaning, speech that isn’t intelligible’; Mezzrow further suggests, quoting black journalist Earl Conrad, that ‘Jive talk may have been originally a kind of “pig Latin” that the slaves talked with each other, a code – when they were in the presence of whites’. Note that jive, swing music is SE].

3. [1930s+] (US) Afro-American slang, esp. as coined in Harlem and thence used by jazz musicians.

4. [1930s+] (US) any thing, stuff, goings-on, situation.

5. in drug uses.

(a) [1930s+] marijuana.

(b) [1950s+] (drugs) heroin; also attrib.

(c) [1950s+] recreational drugs in general; also attrib.

6. [1960s–70s] a second-rate person.

7. [1960s–70s] one’s personality or material possessions.

8. [1970s] a proposition, a suggestion.

In compounds

jive artist (n.) [-artist sfx]

[1930s] (orig. US black) a pretentious person.

jive kit (n.)

[1950s] (US drugs) the equipment – needle, spoon, eye-dropper, cotton – used for taking narcotics.

jive rattle (n.)

[1950s] (US campus) slang .

jive stick (n.) [stick n. (6d)]

[1950s+] (drugs) a marijuana cigarette.

jive talk

see separate entries.

In phrases

collar the jive (v.)

[1930s+] (US black) to understand every aspect of a situation.

knock the jive out of (v.)

[1940s] (US black) to play the piano.

no jive (also no jibe)

1. [1930s+] (US) honestly, no fooling.

2. attrib. use of sense 1.

shoot the jive (v.)

[1960s] (US) to gossip, talk inconsequentially.