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[jak-straw] /ˈdʒækˌstrɔ/
one of a group of strips of wood or similar objects, as straws or toothpicks, used in the game of jackstraws.
jackstraws, (used with a singular verb) a game in which players compete in picking up, one by one, as many jackstraws as possible without disturbing the heap.
  1. a straw-stuffed figure of a man; scarecrow; straw man.
  2. an insignificant person.
Origin of jackstraw
1590-1600; after Jack Straw, name or nickname of one of the leaders of the rebellion headed by Wat Tyler in 1381 in England Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for jackstraws
Historical Examples
  • The chairs and easels were piled up like jackstraws at the beginning of a game.

  • The children were tumbled in a heap like a pile of jackstraws.

    Leerie Ruth Sawyer
  • She was past mistress of the pretty game of jackstraws, much in vogue at that time.

    Homespun Tales Kate Douglas Wiggin
  • Another large game of jackstraws was being played in Europe in 1823.

    A Straight Deal Owen Wister
  • “Get along to headwaters and start to rolling the jackstraws onto the ice,” shouted Latisan.

  • Then there were passed around bunches of jackstraws for each table.

    Marjorie at Seacote Carolyn Wells
  • And why were they all crosswise with each other, like jackstraws?

    Stepsons of Light Eugene Manlove Rhodes
  • I have seen the logs jammed out there in the river until they looked like a giant's game of jackstraws.

    Kit of Greenacre Farm Izola Forrester
  • Looking up one saw a dizzy arrangement of laths and rafters, suggestive of the underside of a heap of jackstraws.

  • Twenty years later, in 1803, occurred the heap of jackstraws that led to the Louisiana Purchase.

    A Straight Deal Owen Wister
British Dictionary definitions for jackstraws


(functioning as sing) another name for spillikins
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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