- a toy consisting of a box from which an enclosed figure springs up when the lid is opened.
Origin of jack-in-the-box
Examples from the Web for jack-in-the-box
The jack-in-the-box has popped, just as we expected it to, but it still made us gasp.Amanda Bynes Wigs Out
May 24, 2013
The man obeyed, with the suddenness of a jack-in-the-box, and stood as if petrified.The Heart of Thunder Mountain
Edfrid A. Bingham
People expressed their commiseration for a woman married to that Jack-in-the-box.Amy Foster
Hasn't he brought you a pincushion or a jack-in-the-box, Lady Raikes?
The removal of the burden was almost like unsnapping the cover of a Jack-in-the-box.Elsie Marley, Honey
My man on the bed popped with the agility of a jack-in-the-box for the window.Desert Dust
Edwin L. Sabin
- a toy consisting of a figure on a compressed spring in a box, which springs out when the lid is opened
Word Origin and History for jack-in-the-box
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.