Intermediate+ Word of the Day: jet

jet (noun, verb adjective) /dʒɛt/ LISTEN

A jet is a stream of liquid or gas that shoots out from an opening with great force and also the spout or nozzle that lets out the liquid or gas. In aeronautics,  jet is short for jet plane, or jet engine, a plane or engine moved or producing movement via jet propulsion. As a verb, to jet means ‘to move or travel in or as though in a jet plane.’ As an adjective, jet refers to anything related to jet planes or engines.

Example sentences

  • A jet of champagne erupted from the bottle when the winner of the race popped the cork.
  • Soda spurted from the jet on the siphon.
  • That pilot has been flying jets for twenty years.
  • Those aircraft are powered by jets.
  • Politicians jet all over the world to attend summits.
  • Adam travels a lot; he's always jetting here, there, and everywhere.
  • Marcia is a jet pilot.

Words often used with jet

jet set: a wealthy and privileged group of people who travel a lot, often jetting abroad for parties or resorts. Example: “The jet set has arrived in Saint-Tropez.”

jet lag: the feeling of tiredness and confusion people often suffer from when they have flown from one time zone to another. Example: “I had such bad jet lag when we traveled from the UK to Australia that I just slept through the whole of the first day we were there.”

In pop culture

You can listen to the song “Jet Set,” from the musical Catch Me if You Can, about Frank Abanagle Jr, a con artist who impersonated a pilot, here:

As a bonus, you can also listen to John Denver’s song “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” and read the lyrics, here:

Additional information

Jet is also a hard black semi-precious stone, which can be highly polished and is sometimes used in jewelry. Related to this, jet is also a very dark black color or it can used as an adjective to describe something that is very dark black. Example: “Her jet-black hair shone in the sunlight.”

Did you know?

Do you know who invented the jet engine? There seems to be some disagreement about who came up with the concept first. For a long time, it has been thought that English inventor Frank Whittle was the first to develop the concept in 1928, even as Hans von Ohain also came up with the concept (independently) in the early 1930s in Germany. It was Ohain, though, who wrote to German airplane designer Ernst Heinkel in 1936, and convinced him to build the world’s first turbo-propelled aircraft. The Heinkel He 178 took its first flight in 1939. More recently, some have also argued that another Englishman, engineer A. A. Griffith, also deserves credit. He wrote a paper on compressors and turbines in 1926.


Jet, meaning ‘a stream of water,’ dates back to the late 16th century. The noun came into English from the Middle French jet (‘a throw or cast,’ ‘a gush or spurt of liquid,’ or ‘the shoot of a plant’), from the Middle French jeter (to throw). It can be traced back to the Vulgar Latin verb iectāre or jectāre, an alteration of the Latin verb iactāre or jactāre, made up of jac- (throw) + -t- (frequentative particle) + -āre (infinitive suffix), and further back to the Proto-Indo European root ye- (to throw or impel). There was an earlier noun, jet or get, in Middle English, which meant ‘a device, mode, manner, style or fashion,’ and appeared in the mid- to late 14th century. It is considered related to jet, as it can also be traced back to the same Latin origin, but it is not considered a precursor of the modern word jet. The sense ‘nozzle or spout for emitting a fluid’ first appeared in the early 19th century, and the concept of jet propulsion derived from this sense. The meaning ‘airplane driven by jet propulsion’ was first used in the 1940s. The verb, meaning ‘to spout forth or shoot out,’ also dates back to the late 17th century, and comes from the same origin. They are thought to have made their way into English at the same time. The sense ‘to travel by jet’ dates back to the 1940s. As with the noun, the Middle English verb jetten or getten (to prance, strut, swagger or be showy) dates back to the 14th century and is related, but not the same verb. Finally, the unrelated noun jet (or jetstone) dates back to the mid-14th century. It came into English from the Anglo-French geet and the Old French jaiet. It can be traced back to the Latin gagātes (the Latin word was used to name the stone in Old English) and the Ancient Greek gagá̄tēs líthos. This literally meant ‘stone from Gágai,’ a town in Lycia. It has been used as an adjective to mean ‘deep, glossy black’ since the mid-15th century.

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