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black box

noun
1.
any unit that forms part of an electronic circuit and that has its function, but not its components, specified.
2.
any comparatively small, usually black, box containing a secret, mysterious, or complex mechanical or electronic device.
3.
Aeronautics. an electronic device, such as a flight recorder, that can be removed from an aircraft as a single package.
4.
Automotive. a device in an electronic ignition system that generates electrical pulses.
Origin
1940-1945
1940-45
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for black boxes

black box

noun
1.
a self-contained unit in an electronic or computer system whose circuitry need not be known to understand its function
2.
an informal name for flight recorder
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for black boxes

black box

n.

1947, RAF slang for "navigational instruments;" later extended to any sort of apparatus that operates in a sealed container. Especially of flight recorders from c.1964.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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black boxes in Culture

black box definition


A crash-resistant steel container that holds instruments that record performance data in airplanes. The data are used to analyze the causes of accidents.

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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Slang definitions & phrases for black boxes

black box

noun phrase

Secrecy; classified material; intelligence interests: I suspected the project might involve secret military operations. ''I knew there was black box involved with it''/ A highly confidential annex, placed in a black box, contains selected ''raw material''

[1970s+; fr the use by British intelligence agencies of a black box for highly secret material for the prime minister and the defense and foreign secretaries]


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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