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jam (something) down (someone's) throat

1. Literally, to compel or physically force someone to swallow something. I hate how doctors try to jam pills down your throat for even the tiniest of colds. The government has come under fire for ordering prison staff to jam food down the hunger strikers' throats.
2. To force, compel, or attempt to make someone accept, endure, consider, or agree with/to something. I hate going to my friend's house, because his husband's always jamming conservative rhetoric down my throat. Look, I'm just browsing around for a car—quit trying to jam one down my throat!
See also: down, jam, throat

be money for jam

To be a very quick and easy way to earn money. Primarily heard in UK. A: "I'm getting paid to stay in my neighbours' mansion while they're on holiday." B: "Wow, that'll be money for jam!" I love working on bicycles, so this job will be money for jam.
See also: jam, money

money for jam

A very quick and easy way to earn money. Primarily heard in UK. A: "I'm getting paid to stay in my neighbours' mansion while they're on holiday." B: "Wow, that'll be money for jam!" Twenty quid for watching a movie while the kids are asleep? Sounds like money for jam to me!
See also: jam, money

money for old rope

A very quick and easy way to earn money. A: "I'm getting paid to stay in my neighbours' mansion while they're on holiday." B: "Wow, that'll be money for old rope!" Twenty quid for watching a movie while the kids are asleep? Sounds like money for old rope to me!
See also: money, old, rope

jam sandwich

1. Literally, two pieces of bread with jam in between them. Primarily heard in UK. When I was a kid, my family was very poor, and we ate jam sandwiches every day.
2. slang A police car. Primarily heard in UK. Slow down, there's a jam sandwich up ahead!
See also: jam, sandwich

be in (a bit of) a jam

To be in a troublesome situation. I'm in a bit of a jam—I accidentally made plans with two different men tonight! We're in a jam now because the hotel gave our room away!
See also: bit, jam

jam tomorrow

An empty, useless promise of something that will never arrive or be fulfilled. (A reference to Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, in which the White Queen offers Alice "jam to-morrow and jam yesterday—but never jam to-day.") The few staff who are still with us are growing tired of promises of jam tomorrow, while having to endure longer hours with less pay.
See also: jam, tomorrow

What more do you want, jam on it?

A rhetorical question indicating one's belief that what has been provided is sufficient or generous, and that requests for something additional or superior are ungrateful or greedy. We provided the client everything they requested, plus a few bonus features, but now they're asking for some add-ons. What more do they want, jam on it?
See also: jam, more, on, what

get out of a jam

Fig. to get free from a problem or a bad situation. Would you lend me five hundred dollars? I need it to get out of a jam. I need some help getting out of a jam.
See also: get, jam, of, out

get out of a jam

Fig. to get free from a problem or a bad situation. Would you lend me five hundred dollars? I need it to get out of a jam. I need some help getting out of a jam.
See also: get, jam, of, out

get someone out of a jam

Fig. to get someone out of trouble. Thanks for getting my brother out of that jam. How am I going to get myself out of this jam?
See also: get, jam, of, out

*in a bind

 and *in a jam
Fig. in a tight or difficult situation; stuck on a problem. (*Typically: be ~; get [into] ~; find oneself ~.) I'm in a bind. I owe a lot of money. Whenever I get into a jam, I ask my supervisor for help. When things get busy around here, we get in a bind. We could use another helper.
See also: bind

in(to) a jam

Fig. in(to) a difficult situation. Mary cannot keep track of the many times Dave got himself into a jam. I found myself in a jam when my car overheated on the highway.
See also: jam

jam session

an informal session where musicians play together. Andy and Nick had a jam session last night and kept all the neighbors awake.
See also: jam, session

jam someone or something (into something)

 and jam someone or something in
to force or compress someone or something into something or some place. Sam jammed all his clothes into the canvas bag. The conductor jammed all the passengers into one car. Don't jam in everything! They had to jam themselves into the tiny room, because there was no other place to meet.

jam someone or something together

to pack people or things close together. The usher jammed everybody together so more people could be seated. Don't just jam the boxes together! Sort them out first.
See also: jam, together

jam something together

to assemble something hastily or carelessly. The fragile contents were just jammed together in one box and everything was broken. The thing was just jammed together with no care at all.
See also: jam, together

jam something up

1. to clog up something; to impede or block the movement of or through something. Rachel jammed traffic up when her car stalled. All the leaves and branches jammed up the sewer.
2. Fig. to force something upwards in haste or anger. Who jammed the window up? Wally jammed up the window and nearly broke it.
See also: jam, up

jam something up something

to thrust something up something. She poked the broom handle up the chimney, hoping to force the bird to fly out. She jammed it up a few times, but it had no effect.
See also: jam, up

jam something (up) with something

to clog something with something. Time had jammed the pipe up with rust. Time had jammed up the pipe with rust. Jam the hole with a cloth so nothing else will leak out.
See also: jam

jam the brakes on

to press down hard on a vehicle's brakes. Alice jammed the brakes on and the car skidded all over the place. She jammed on the brakes.
See also: brake, jam, on

jam with someone

to play music in an improvised band with someone. Andy loves to jam with the other students. Let's set up a time when we can jam with the others.
See also: jam

traffic jam

vehicle traffic that is so heavy and slow that it can no longer move. Going to the airport, we got stuck in a traffic jam for nearly and hour and missed our plane.
See also: jam, traffic

in a bind

Also, in a box or hole or jam or tight corner or tight spot . In a difficult, threatening, or embarrassing position; also, unable to solve a dilemma. For example, He's put us in a bind: we can't refuse, but at the same time we can't fill the order, or Jim's in a box; he can't afford to pay what he owes us, or He quit without giving notice and now we're really in a hole, or We always end up in a jam during the holiday season, or He's in a tight corner with those new customers, or We'll be in a tight spot unless we can find another thousand dollars. All these colloquial terms allude to places from which one can't easily extricate oneself. The phrase using bind was first recorded in 1851; box, 1865; jam, 1914; tight spot, 1852. Also see in a fix.
See also: bind


see under get in a bind.

jam tomorrow

mainly BRITISH
If you say jam tomorrow, you mean that someone often promises that something good is going to happen but that, in reality, it never seems to happen. The government's big plans for education are no more than jam tomorrow. Note: Jam today is used to refer to the idea that people can have something immediately, rather than having to wait. Economists generally assume that most people value jam today more highly than the same quantity of jam tomorrow. Note: This expression is often used to suggest that people are in fact unlikely to receive what they have been promised. Note: This expression comes from the children's story `Through the Looking Glass', by Lewis Carroll, where the Red Queen says, `The rule is jam tomorrow and jam yesterday, but never jam today.' As the main character, Alice, points out, this means that nobody will ever get any jam.
See also: jam, tomorrow

money for old rope


money for jam

If you say that someone is getting money for old rope or money for jam, you mean that they are getting money very easily and with very little effort. I had always believed that the fashion model's job was money for old rope. His only responsibilities will be to keep the fences in order and to maintain the grass. It sounds like money for jam. Note: In the past, sailors used to unpick lengths of old rope and sell the strands to shipyards where they were used to make the decks of ships watertight.
See also: money, old, rope

jam up

1. To become blocked, congested, or clogged: The traffic jammed up on the highway.
2. To cause something to become blocked, congested, or clogged: Some hair jammed the pipes up. You jammed up the drain with leftover food.
See also: jam, up

in a jam

mod. in a difficult situation. I think I’m sort of in a jam.
See also: jam


1. n. a problem; trouble. I hear you’re in a bad jam.
2. in. [for musicians] to play together, improvising. They jammed until the neighbors complained.
3. tv. & in. to force a basketball into the basket; to slam dunk a basketball. He tried to jam it, but blew it.
4. n. an act of forcing a basketball into the basket; a slam dunk. The jam didn’t work, and Fred’s team rebounded the ball.
5. in. to depart. It’s time to jam. Let’s go.


1. mod. arrested. (Underworld.) Willie got jammed for speeding.
2. mod. alcohol intoxicated. I’m a little jammed, but I think I can still drive.
3. Go to jammed up.
4. mod. upset; annoyed. He’s really jammed because he flunked the test.
See also: jam

jammed up

1. and jammed mod. in trouble. (From in a jam.) He got himself jammed up with the law.
2. mod. glutted; full of food or drink. I’m jammed up. I can’t eat another bite.
See also: jam, up


See also: jam


mod. excellent. This music is really jamming.
See also: jam


and jam-packed
mod. full. This day has been jampacked with surprises.



toe jam

n. a nasty, smelly substance that collects between the toes of unwashed feet. Wash your feet, you turkey! I don’t want you getting all your toe jam all over the room!
See also: jam, toe
References in periodicals archive ?
From The Jam gained an immediate reputation for the kind of incendiary performances that sealed the reputation of The Jam back in the day.
The best tips for anyone new to jam making is to start with small batches of no more than 2kg of fruit, always use a jam kettle and warm the sugar and fruit separately before combining them.
Super Jams, produced by the now 18-year-old's company Doherty's Preserves, has managed to "inject new life into one of the world's oldest foods" according to Tesco's jam and conserves buyer Danielle Pierce.
Def Jam Mobile represents a milestone in the establishment of a mobile entertainment marketplace, leveraging the strength and success that Russell Simmons and Def Jam Enterprises have earned in the Hip Hop market.
Band members will be distributing flyers giving dates for upcoming shows at the Jam House, but among them will be one 'golden ticket' VIP invite to the Jam House's Re-Vamp party on October 24.
The new sensing strategy, described in the March Transportation Research Part A, can identify incipient traffic jams in about a quarter the time of conventional automatic detection methods, Coifman claims.
For more information on the Del Poetry Jam Anthology and shows contact: Phat Farm, 530 7th Avenue, 14th floor, New York, New York 10018 c/o Def Poetry Jam, Attention: Bruce George, Executive Producer, (212) 391-9443
Eight to ten times a year, the Dance Jam throws itself open to audiences at public elementary schools, at ODC's annual spring season, at community centers, at Francis Ford Coppola's private estate.
So the Sunday Mirror Magazine has given jam the "Modern Eclectic" treatment - mingling it with the freshest, most surprising flavours.
Def Jam Interactive, an division of Def Jam Enterprises, is a preeminent force in the digital industry, providing an authentic hip hop experience through gameplay, cultural nuances, strategic partnerships, music, talent and executive direction.
The new JAM Transit City Headphones feature both Bluetooth wireless connectivity and active noise cancellation.
During the CELTA course they recognized the lack of "quality" and "relevant" teaching tools and resources available to teachers and found they truly enjoyed creating their own stuff not just for teaching purposes but for their own learning enjoyment …thus jam was born.
But that didn't stop a crowd of thousands at the NBA Jam Session from showing that, for every basketball superstar, there are a dozen ways to wear his jersey.
Savion Glover, who danced in Jelly's Last Jam and Black and Blue as well as in Tap, is a regular.
Today, Simmons is positioning Rush even more prominently in mainstream America via the successful Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam television show on Home Box Office (HBO) and his development plans for additional TV programs and feature films.