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black box

any unit that forms part of an electronic circuit and that has its function, but not its components, specified.
any comparatively small, usually black, box containing a secret, mysterious, or complex mechanical or electronic device.
Aeronautics. an electronic device, such as a flight recorder, that can be removed from an aircraft as a single package.
Automotive. a device in an electronic ignition system that generates electrical pulses.
Origin of black box
First recorded in 1940-45 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for black box
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • On the subject of the black box Mrs. Damer's brain was turned.

  • He picked up the black box that generated his protective screen.

    Mutineer Robert J. Shea
  • The redheaded man was crouching in the far corner of the black box.

    Romance Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer
  • The mathematician set the black box on the desk top and released the lid.

    PRoblem Alan Edward Nourse
  • Connected with this arrangement, was a black box of many uses.

    The Eternal Wall Raymond Zinke Gallun
British Dictionary definitions for black box

black box

a self-contained unit in an electronic or computer system whose circuitry need not be known to understand its function
an informal name for flight recorder
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 black box

1947, RAF slang for "navigational instruments;" later extended to any sort of apparatus that operates in a sealed container. Especially of flight recorders from c.1964.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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black box in Culture

black box definition

A crash-resistant steel container that holds instruments that record performance data in airplanes. The data are used to analyze the causes of accidents.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for black box

black box

noun phrase

Secrecy; classified material; intelligence interests: I suspected the project might involve secret military operations. ''I knew there was black box involved with it''/ A highly confidential annex, placed in a black box, contains selected ''raw material''

[1970s+; fr the use by British intelligence agencies of a black box for highly secret material for the prime minister and the defense and foreign secretaries]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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