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The origin of the word jazz is one of the most sought-after word origins in modern American English. The word's intrinsic interest ? the American Dialect Society named it the Word of the Twentieth Century ? has resulted in considerable research, and its history is well-documented. As discussed in more detail below, jazz began as a West Coast slang term around 1912, the meaning of which varied but which did not refer to music or sex. Jazz came to mean jazz music in Chicago around 1915. Jazz was played in New Orleans prior to that time but was not called jazz.