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8 Words That Are Older Than You Think

jack-in-the-box

[jak-in-th uh-boks] /ˈdʒæk ɪn ðəˌbɒks/
noun, plural jack-in-the-boxes.
1.
a toy consisting of a box from which an enclosed figure springs up when the lid is opened.
Also, jack-in-a-box.
Origin
1545-1555
1545-55
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for jack-in-a-box

jack-in-the-box

noun (pl) jack-in-the-boxes, jacks-in-the-box
1.
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 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 jack-in-a-box

jack-in-the-box

n.

1560s, 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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