Pet Peeve of the Week: You Mean 'Jibe', Not 'Jive'!

Here we go again. This week's irritating English language mistake is jive. When you say the phrases, "that doesn't jive" or "our numbers don't jive", what you really mean to say is jibe. I'll admit that I made this mistake a bunch of times myself up until about 5 years ago. It's extremely common. In fact, I'd bet well over 50% of the population has no idea that it should be jibe. Seeing as it's so common, I should probably let it slide, right? Nope. Unfortunately, that's not how my brain works. Now that I know the right way to say it, the wrong way bothers me. Sorry.

I guess the real reason it's such a common mistake is that it's something that you really don't see written down very often. It's one of those sayings that is way more common in speech than in writing. And, if you've never seen the phrase written, I could understand how it's pretty easy to mishear the word jibe as jive, and then for that mistake to be perpetuated. So, I'm doing my part to set the record straight in the written form.

Here's what has to say:

However, “jibe” has another meaning that’s not etymologically related to the nautical usage: to agree or be consistent with, as in, “Those figures don’t jibe.” The Oxford English Dictionary describes this usage as “chiefly U.S.”
The word “jive” can be either a noun or a verb, as in “Don’t give me that jive” or “Don’t jive me.” It’s a Jazz Era slang term that usually refers to deceptive or nonsensical talk, though it can also mean jazz music.

There you have it.