1 [jak]
any of various portable devices for raising or lifting heavy objects short heights, using various mechanical, pneumatic, or hydraulic methods.
Also called knave. Cards. a playing card bearing the picture of a soldier or servant.
Electricity. a connecting device in an electrical circuit designed for the insertion of a plug.
(initial capital letter) Informal. fellow; buddy; man (usually used in addressing a stranger): Hey, Jack, which way to Jersey?
Also called jackstone. Games.
one of a set of small metal objects having six prongs, used in the game of jacks.
one of any other set of objects, as pebbles, stones, etc., used in the game of jacks.
jacks, (used with a singular verb) a children's game in which small metal objects, stones, pebbles, or the like, are tossed, caught, and moved on the ground in a number of prescribed ways, usually while bouncing a rubber ball.
any of several carangid fishes, especially of the genus Caranx, as C. hippos (crevalle jack or jack crevalle) of the western Atlantic Ocean.
Slang. money: He won a lot of jack at the races.
Slang: Vulgar. jack shit.
a small flag flown at the jack staff of a ship, bearing a distinctive design usually symbolizing the nationality of the vessel.
Also called jack crosstree. either of a pair of crosstrees at the head of a topgallant mast, used to hold royal shrouds away from the mast.
(initial capital letter) a sailor.
a lumberjack.
a jackass.
a device for turning a spit.
a small wooden rod in the mechanism of a harpsichord, spinet, or virginal that rises when the key is depressed and causes the attached plectrum to strike the string.
Lawn Bowling. a small, usually white bowl or ball used as a mark for the bowlers to aim at.
Also called clock jack. Horology. a mechanical figure that strikes a clock bell.
a premigratory young male salmon.
Theater, brace jack.
Falconry. the male of a kestrel, hobby, or especially of a merlin.
verb (used with object)
to lift or move (something) with or as if with a jack (usually followed by up ): to jack a car up to change a flat tire.
Informal. to increase, raise, or accelerate (prices, wages, speed, etc.) (usually followed by up ).
Informal. to boost the morale of; encourage (usually followed by up ).
verb (used without object)
Carpentry. having a height or length less than that of most of the others in a structure; cripple: jack rafter; jack truss.
Verb phrases
jack off, Slang: Vulgar. to masturbate.
every man jack, everyone without exception: They presented a formidable opposition, every man jack of them.

1350–1400; Middle English jakke, Jakke used in addressing any male, especially a social inferior, variant of Jakken, variant of Jankin, equivalent to Jan John + -kin -kin; extended in sense to anything male, and as a designation for a variety of inanimate objects

Dictionary.com Unabridged


2 [jak]

1605–15; < Portuguese jaca < Malayalam cakka


3 [jak]
a defensive coat, usually of leather, worn in medieval times by foot soldiers and others.
a container for liquor, originally of waxed leather coated with tar.

1325–75; Middle English jakke < Middle French jaque(s), jacket, short, plain upper garment, probably after jacques peasant (see Jacquerie)


a male given name, form of Jacob or John.


John ("Jack") 1917–1999, Irish political leader: prime minister 1966–73, 1977–79.


Bernadotte Everly [bur-nuh-dot ev-er-lee] , 1886–1969, U.S. historian.
Harrison (Hagan) [hey-guhn] , ("Jack") born 1935, U.S. astronaut, geologist, and politician: U.S. senator 1977–83.


Weldon John [wel-dn] , ("Jack") 1905–64, U.S. jazz trombonist and singer.


Sir John Arthur ("Jack") born 1926, Australian racing-car driver and designer.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source Link To jack
World English Dictionary
Brabham (ˈbræbəm)
Sir John Arthur, known as Jack. born 1926, Australian motor-racing driver: world champion 1959, 1960, and 1966

jack1 (dʒæk)
1.  a man or fellow
2.  a sailor
3.  the male of certain animals, esp of the ass or donkey
4.  a mechanical or hydraulic device for exerting a large force, esp to raise a heavy weight such as a motor vehicle
5.  any of several mechanical devices that replace manpower, such as a contrivance for rotating meat on a spit
6.  one of four playing cards in a pack, one for each suit, bearing the picture of a young prince; knave
7.  bowls a small usually white bowl at which the players aim with their own bowls
8.  electrical engineering a female socket with two or more terminals designed to receive a male plug (jack plug) that either makes or breaks the circuit or circuits
9.  Compare Union Jack a flag, esp a small flag flown at the bow of a ship indicating the ship's nationality
10.  nautical either of a pair of crosstrees at the head of a topgallant mast used as standoffs for the royal shrouds
11.  a part of the action of a harpsichord, consisting of a fork-shaped device on the end of a pivoted lever on which a plectrum is mounted
12.  any of various tropical and subtropical carangid fishes, esp those of the genus Caranx, such as C. hippos (crevalle jack)
13.  Also called: jackstone one of the pieces used in the game of jacks
14.  applejack bootjack jackass jackfish jack rabbit short for lumberjack
15.  (US) a slang word for money
16.  every man jack everyone without exception
17.  slang (Austral) the jack venereal disease
18.  slang (Austral) jack of tired or fed up with (something)
19.  to lift or push (an object) with a jack
20.  electrical engineering to connect (an electronic device) with another by means of a jack and a jack plug
21.  (US), (Canadian) Also: jacklight to hunt (fish or game) by seeking them out or dazzling them with a flashlight
[C16 jakke, variant of Jankin, diminutive of John]

jack or jak2 (dʒæk)
short for jackfruit
[C17: from Portuguese jaca; see jackfruit]
jak or jak2
[C17: from Portuguese jaca; see jackfruit]

jack3 (dʒæk)
1.  a short sleeveless coat of armour of the Middle Ages, consisting usually of a canvas base with metal plates
2.  archaic a drinking vessel, often of leather
[C14: from Old French jaque, of uncertain origin]

Jack (dʒæk)
informal (Brit) I'm all right, Jack
 a.  a remark indicating smug and complacent selfishness
 b.  (as modifier): an ``I'm all right, Jack'' attitude

lynch (lɪntʃ)
(tr) (of a mob) to punish (a person) for some supposed offence by hanging without a trial
[probably after Charles Lynch (1736--96), Virginia justice of the peace, who presided over extralegal trials of Tories during the American War of Independence]

Lynch (lɪntʃ)
1.  David. born 1946, US film director; his work includes the films Eraserhead (1977), Blue Velvet (1986), Wild at Heart (1990), and Mulholland Drive (2001) and the television series Twin Peaks (1990)
2.  John, known as Jack Lynch. 1917--99, Irish statesman; prime minister of the Republic of Ireland (1966--73; 1977--79)

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

masc. proper name, 1218, probably an Anglicization of O.Fr. Jacques (which was a dim. of L. Jacobus, see Jacob), but in Eng. the name always has been associated with Johan, Jan "John," and some have argued that it is a native formation. Alliterative coupling of Jack and Jill
is from 15c. (Ienken and Iulyan). As a generic name addressed to an unknown stranger, it is attested from 1889 in Amer.Eng. Used especially of sailors (1659; Jack-tar is from 1781).

late 14c., jakke "a mechanical device," from the name Jack. Used by 14c. for "any common fellow" (mid-14c.), and thereafter extended to various appliances replacing servants (1570s). Used generically of men (jack-of-all-trades, 1610s), male animals (1620s, see jackass, jackdaw,
etc.), and male personifications (1520s, e.g. Jack Frost). The jack in a pack of playing cards (1670s) is in Ger. Bauer "peasant." Jackhammer is from 1930. Jack shit "nothing at all" is 1970s southern U.S. student slang. The jack of Union Jack is a nautical term for a small flag at the bow of a ship (1630s).

1873, jack up, originally "abandon, give up," later (1885) "hoist with a jack;" then "increase prices, etc." (1904, Amer.Eng.), all from the noun. Jack off (v.) "to masturbate" is attested from 1916, probably from jack in the sense of "penis."

1835, from earlier Lynch law (1811), likely named after William Lynch (1742-1820) of Pittsylvania, Va., who c.1780 led a vigilance committee to keep order there during the Revolution. Other sources trace the name to Charles Lynch (1736-1796) a Virginia magistrate who fined and imprisoned Tories in his
district c.1782, but the connection to him is less likely. Originally any sort of summary justice, especially by flogging; narrowing of focus to "extralegal execution by hanging" is 20c. Lynch mob is attested from 1838. The surname is either from O.E. hlinc "hill" or Ir. Loingseach "sailor." Cf. earlier Lydford law, from a place in Dartmoor, England, "where was held a Stannaries Court of summary jurisdiction" [Weekley], hence:
"Lydford law: is to hang men first, and indite them afterwards." [Thomas Blount, "Glossographia," 1656]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idioms beginning with jack, also see before you can say Jack Robinson.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Jack has wandered into the forest, and he can't remember how he got there.
Stuff fresh poblano chiles with corn, jalapeño, and jack cheese polenta.
Forget the fad of accosting random strangers to jack your headphones into their
The side of my project box sports a phone jack for easy connection and
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