1 [boks]
a container, case, or receptacle, usually rectangular, of wood, metal, cardboard, etc., and often with a lid or removable cover.
the quantity contained in a box: She bought a box of candy as a gift.
Chiefly British. a gift or present: a Christmas box.
a compartment or section in a public place, shut or railed off for the accommodation of a small number of people, especially in a theater, opera house, sports stadium, etc.
a small enclosure or area in a courtroom, for witnesses or the jury.
a small shelter: a sentry's box.
a small house, cabin, or cottage, as for use while hunting: a shooting box.
a telephone booth.
a wardrobe trunk.
the driver's seat on a coach.
the section of a wagon in which passengers or parcels are carried.
Automotive. the section of a truck in which cargo is carried.
the box, Informal. television: Are there any good shows on the box tonight?
part of a page of a newspaper or periodical set off in some manner, as by lines, a border, or white space.
any enclosing, protective case or housing, sometimes including its contents: a gear box; a fire-alarm box.
either of two marked spaces, one on each side of the plate, in which the batter stands.
either of two marked spaces, one outside of first base and the other outside of third, where the coaches stand.
the pitcher's mound.
the marked space where the catcher stands.
a difficult situation; predicament.
Agriculture. a bowl or pit cut in the side of a tree for collecting sap.
Jazz Slang.
a stringed instrument, as a guitar.
a piano.
a phonograph.
a computer.
Slang. a coffin.
Slang: Vulgar.
the vulva or vagina.
basket ( def 9 ).
verb (used with object)
to put into a box: She boxed the glassware before the movers came.
to enclose or confine as in a box (often followed by in or up ).
to furnish with a box.
to form into a box or the shape of a box.
to block so as to keep from passing or achieving better position (often followed by in ): The Ferrari was boxed in by two other cars on the tenth lap.
to group together for consideration as one unit: to box bills in the legislature.
Building Trades. to enclose or conceal (a building or structure) as with boarding.
Agriculture. to make a hole or cut in (a tree) for sap to collect.
to mix (paint, varnish, or the like) by pouring from one container to another and back again.
to mix groups of sheep that should be kept separated.
to confuse someone or something.
Verb phrases
box out, Basketball. to position oneself between an opposing player and the basket to hinder the opposing player from rebounding or tipping in a shot; block out.
out of the box, Australian Slang. remarkable or exceptional; extraordinary.
outside the box, Informal. in an innovative or unconventional manner; with a fresh perspective: You have to think outside the box and adapt those strategies to your business. Also, out of the box.

before 1000; Middle English, Old English, probably < Late Latin buxis, a reshaping of Latin pyxis; see boîte

boxlike, adjective Unabridged


2 [boks]
a blow, as with the hand or fist: He gave the boy a box on his ear.
verb (used with object)
to strike with the hand or fist, especially on the ear.
to fight against (someone) in a boxing match.
verb (used without object)
to fight with the fists; participate in a boxing match; spar.
to be a professional or experienced prizefighter or boxer: He has boxed since he was 16.

1300–50; Middle English box a blow, boxen to beat, of uncertain origin


3 [boks]
an evergreen shrub or small tree of the genus Buxus, especially B. sempervirens, having shiny, elliptic, dark-green leaves, used for ornamental borders, hedges, etc., and yielding a hard, durable wood.
the wood itself. Compare boxwood ( defs 1, 2 ).
any of various other shrubs or trees, especially species of eucalyptus.

before 950; Middle English, Old English < Latin buxus boxwood < Greek pýxos


4 [boks]
verb (used with object)
Nautical. to boxhaul (often followed by off ).
Meteorology. to fly around the center of a storm in a boxlike pattern in order to gather meteorological data: to box a storm.
box the compass, Nautical. to recite all of the points of the compass in a clockwise order.

1745–55; probably < Spanish bojar to sail around, earlier boxar, perhaps < Catalan vogir to (cause to) turn ≪ Latin volvere (see revolve); influenced by box1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
box1 (bɒks)
1.  a receptacle or container made of wood, cardboard, etc, usually rectangular and having a removable or hinged lid
2.  Also called: boxful the contents of such a receptacle or the amount it can contain: he ate a whole box of chocolates
3.  any of various containers for a specific purpose: a money box; letter box
4.  (often in combination) any of various small cubicles, kiosks, or shelters: a telephone box or callbox; a sentry box; a signal box on a railway
5.  a separate compartment in a public place for a small group of people, as in a theatre or certain restaurants
6.  jury box See witness box an enclosure within a courtroom
7.  loosebox See horsebox a compartment for a horse in a stable or a vehicle
8.  (Brit) a small country house occupied by sportsmen when following a field sport, esp shooting
9.  a.  a protective housing for machinery or mechanical parts
 b.  the contents of such a box
 c.  (in combination): a gearbox
10.  a shaped device of light tough material worn by sportsmen to protect the genitals, esp in cricket
11.  a section of printed matter on a page, enclosed by lines, a border, or white space
12.  a central agency to which mail is addressed and from which it is collected or redistributed: a post-office box; to reply to a box number in a newspaper advertisement
13.  the central part of a computer or the casing enclosing it
14.  short for penalty box
15.  baseball either of the designated areas in which the batter may stand
16.  the raised seat on which the driver sits in a horse-drawn coach
17.  (NZ) a wheeled container for transporting coal in a mine
18.  (Austral), (NZ) an accidental mixing of herds or flocks
19.  a hole cut into the base of a tree to collect the sap
20.  short for Christmas box
21.  a device for dividing water into two or more ditches in an irrigation system
22.  an informal name for a coffin
23.  taboo, slang the female genitals
24.  (NZ) be a box of birds to be very well indeed
25.  informal (Brit) the box television
26.  think outside the box, think out of the box to think in a different, innovative, or original manner, esp with regard to business practices, products, systems, etc
27.  tick all the boxes to satisfy all of the apparent requirements for success
28.  informal (Austral) out of the box outstanding or excellent: a day out of the box
vb (foll by in) (sometimes foll by up)
29.  (tr) to put into a box
30.  (tr; usually foll by in or up) to prevent from moving freely; confine
31.  printing to enclose (text) within a ruled frame
32.  (tr) to make a cut in the base of (a tree) in order to collect the sap
33.  (Austral), (NZ) (tr) to mix (flocks or herds) accidentally
34.  (NZ) to confuse: I am all boxed up
35.  nautical short for boxhaul
36.  nautical box the compass to name the compass points in order
[Old English box, from Latin buxus from Greek puxosbox³]

box2 (bɒks)
1.  (tr) to fight (an opponent) in a boxing match
2.  (intr) to engage in boxing
3.  (tr) to hit (a person) with the fist; punch or cuff
4.  box clever to behave in a careful and cunning way
5.  a punch with the fist, esp on the ear
[C14: of uncertain origin; perhaps related to Dutch boken to shunt, push into position]

box3 (bɒks)
1.  a dense slow-growing evergreen tree or shrub of the genus Buxus, esp B. sempervirens, which has small shiny leaves and is used for hedges, borders, and garden mazes: family Buxaceae
2.  See boxwood the wood of this tree
3.  any of several trees the timber or foliage of which resembles this tree, esp various species of Eucalyptus with rough bark
[Old English, from Latin buxus]

vanity bag, case or box
a woman's small bag or hand case used to carry cosmetics, etc
case, case or box
box, case or box

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. box "a wooden container," also "type of shrub," from L.L. buxis, from Gk. pyxis "boxwood box," from pyxos "box tree," of uncertain origin. Ger. Büchse also is a Latin loan word. Slang meaning "vulva" is attested 17c., according to "Dictionary of American Slang;" modern use seems to date from
c.WWII, perhaps originally Australian, and on notion of "box of tricks." Boxy is attested from 1861. Box office is 1786; in the figurative sense of "financial element of a performance" it is first recorded 1904.

"a blow," c.1300, of uncertain origin, possibly related to M.Du. boke, M.H.G. buc and Dan. bask, all meaning "a blow," perhaps imitative. The verb meaning "to fight with the fists" is from 1560s. Boxing as a sport is first recorded 1711.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang Dictionary

box definition

  1. n.
    the genitals of the male, especially as contained within a garment, such as underwear. (Usually objectionable.) : God, did you see the box on him?
  2. n.
    the genitals of a female; the vagina considered as a container for the penis. (Usually objectionable.) : He wants to get in her box.
  3. n.
    a coffin. : Put him in a box and put the box in a hole. Then the matter is closed.
  4. n.
    a phonograph player. : Yours is old! My box still has tubes!
  5. n.
    a portable stereo radio. : Does that damn box have to be so loud?
  6. n.
    a piano. : She sure can pound the devil out of that box!
  7. in.
    to die. : The old man looks like he's going to box at any minute.

  8. Go to (ghetto) box. :

  9. Go to (squeeze-)box. :
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
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(ghetto) blaster definition

[ˈgɛdo blæstɚ] and [ˈgɛdo bɑks]
and (ghetto) box
  1. n.
    a huge portable stereo, often carried on the shoulder. (Associated with blacks.) : Hey, turn down that ghetto blaster in here!
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
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(squeeze-)box definition

  1. n.
    an accordion. (See also groan box.) : My brother plays the squeeze-box—not very well, but who can tell? , The band consisted of drums, clarinet, and a box. A real winner.
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
Cite This Source
Computing Dictionary

box definition

1. A computer; especially in the construction "foo box" where foo is some functional qualifier, like "graphics", or the name of an operating system (thus, "Unix box", "MS-DOS box", etc.) "We preprocess the data on Unix boxes before handing it up to the mainframe." The plural "boxen" is sometimes seen.
2. Without qualification in an IBM SNA site, "box" refers specifically to an IBM front-end processor.
[Jargon File]

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Bible Dictionary

Box definition

for holding oil or perfumery (Mark 14:3). It was of the form of a flask or bottle. The Hebrew word (pak) used for it is more appropriately rendered "vial" in 1 Sam. 10:1, and should also be so rendered in 2 Kings 9:1, where alone else it occurs.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idioms beginning with box, also see in a bind (box); on one's soapbox; pandora's box; stuff the ballot box.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
It is not a rectangular-box gallery where people show their work.
Wine in a box makes sense environmentally and economically.
Meyers doesn't question whether the box is genuine and dates back to the first
Soak three blocks of florist's foam in a bucket of water, then set them on
  plastic trays inside the window box.
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