jack in the box

jack-in-the-box

[jak-in-thuh-boks]
noun, plural jack-in-the-boxes.
a toy consisting of a box from which an enclosed figure springs up when the lid is opened.
Also, jack-in-a-box.


Origin:
1545–55

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
jack-in-the-box
 
n , pl jack-in-the-boxes, jacks-in-the-box
a toy consisting of a figure on a compressed spring in a box, which springs out when the lid is opened

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

jack-in-the-box
1570, originally a name for a sharp or cheat, "who deceived tradesmen by substituting empty boxes for others full of money" [Robert Nares, "A Glossary of Words, Phrases, Names, and Allusions," London, 1905]. As a type of toy, it is attested from 1702.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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