jazz up


music originating in New Orleans around the beginning of the 20th century and subsequently developing through various increasingly complex styles, generally marked by intricate, propulsive rhythms, polyphonic ensemble playing, improvisatory, virtuosic solos, melodic freedom, and a harmonic idiom ranging from simple diatonicism through chromaticism to atonality.
a style of dance music, popular especially in the 1920s, arranged for a large band and marked by some of the features of jazz.
dancing or a dance performed to such music, as with violent bodily motions and gestures.
Slang. liveliness; spirit; excitement.
Slang. insincere, exaggerated, or pretentious talk: Don't give me any of that jazz about your great job!
Slang. similar or related but unspecified things, activities, etc.: He goes for fishing and all that jazz.
of, pertaining to, or characteristic of jazz.
verb (used with object)
to play (music) in the manner of jazz.
to excite or enliven.
to accelerate.
Slang: Vulgar. to copulate with.
verb (used without object)
to dance to jazz music.
to play or perform jazz music.
Informal. to act or proceed with great energy or liveliness.
Slang: Vulgar. to copulate.
Verb phrases
jazz up, Informal.
to add liveliness, vigor, or excitement to.
to add ornamentation, color, or extra features to, in order to increase appeal or interest; embellish.
to accelerate.

1905–10, Americanism; 1915–20 for def 5; origin uncertain

jazzer, noun
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
jazz (dʒæz)
1.  a.  Compare blues bebop bop Dixieland free hard bop harmolodics mainstream modern jazz New Orleans jazz swing See also trad a kind of music of African-American origin, characterized by syncopated rhythms, solo and group improvisation, and a variety of harmonic idioms and instrumental techniques. It exists in a number of styles
 b.  (as modifier): a jazz band
 c.  (in combination): a jazzman
2.  informal enthusiasm or liveliness
3.  slang rigmarole; paraphernalia: legal papers and all that jazz
4.  slang, obsolete (African-American) sexual intercourse
5.  slang (South African) a dance
6.  (intr) to play or dance to jazz music
7.  slang, obsolete (African-American) to have sexual intercourse with (a person)
[C20: of unknown origin]

jazz up
1.  to imbue (a piece of music) with jazz qualities, esp by improvisation or a quicker tempo
2.  to make more lively, gaudy, or appealing

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

by 1912, Amer.Eng., first attested in baseball slang; as a type of music, attested from 1913. Probably ult. from Creole patois jass "strenuous activity," especially "sexual intercourse" but also used of Congo dances, from jasm (1860) "energy, drive," of African origin (cf. Mandingo jasi, Temne yas),
also the source of slang jism.
"If the truth were known about the origin of the word 'Jazz' it would never be mentioned in polite society." ["Étude," Sept. 1924]
The verb meaning "to speed or liven up" is from 1917; all that jazz "et cetera" first recorded 1939; Jazzercise is 1977, originally a proprietary name. Jazz Age first attested 1922 in writings of F. Scott Fitzgerald, usually regarded as the years between the end of World War I (1918) and the Stock Market crash of 1929.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

jazz definition

A form of American music that grew out of African-Americans' musical traditions at the beginning of the twentieth century. Jazz is generally considered a major contribution of the United States to the world of music. It quickly became a form of dance music, incorporating a “big beat” and solos by individual musicians. For many years, all jazz was improvised and taught orally, and even today jazz solos are often improvised. Over the years, the small groups of the original jazz players evolved into the “Big Bands” (led, for example, by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Glenn Miller), and finally into concert ensembles. Other famous jazz musicians include Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, and Ella Fitzgerald.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

jazz up

  1. Enliven, make more interesting, as in They jazzed up the living room with a new rug, or They decided to include a comedy act to jazz up the program.

  2. Modify so as to increase its performance, as in Peter wanted to jazz up his motorbike with a stronger engine. Both usages are colloquialisms from the mid-1900s. Also see juice up.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Idioms & Phrases
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