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[jak-pot] /ˈdʒækˌpɒt/
the chief prize or the cumulative stakes in a game or contest, as in bingo, a quiz contest, or a slot machine.
Poker. a pot that accumulates until a player opens the betting with a pair of predetermined denomination, usually jacks or better.
an outstanding reward or success.
hit the jackpot, Informal.
  1. to achieve a sensational success; have sudden luck:
    The firm has hit the jackpot with its new line of computers.
  2. to win a jackpot.
Origin of jackpot
An Americanism dating back to 1880-85; of uncertain origin Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for jackpot
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • When poker was played, beans were put in the jackpot instead of money.

    A Gold Hunter's Experience Chalkley J. Hambleton
  • They looked to me like a jackpot lot, but I couldn't be sure at that distance.

    Oh, You Tex! William Macleod Raine
  • Did the preacher gent die, er did Brother Peyton jump the game, taking the jackpot with him?

    David Lannarck, Midget George S. Harney
  • These editorials were vigorously rebutted by editors and columnists who as yet had not had a chance to try for the jackpot.

  • A faint heart may never win a fair lady, but five of them have won many a jackpot.

    The New Pun Book

    Thomas A. Brown and Thomas Joseph Carey
British Dictionary definitions for jackpot


any large prize, kitty, or accumulated stake that may be won in gambling, such as a pool in poker that accumulates until the betting is opened with a pair of jacks or higher
hit the jackpot
  1. to win a jackpot
  2. (informal) to achieve great success, esp through luck
Word Origin
C20: probably from jack1 (playing card) + pot1
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 jackpot

also jack-pot, "big prize," 1944, from slot machine sense (1932), from obsolete poker sense (1881) of antes that begin when no player has a pair of jacks or better; from jack (n.) in the card-playing sense + pot (n.1). Earlier, in criminal slang, it meant "trouble," especially "an arrest" (1902).

The regular Draw-Poker game is usually varied by occasional Jack-Pots, which are played once in so many deals, or when all have refused to play, or when the player deals who holds the buck, a marker placed in the pool with every jack-pot. In a jack-pot each player puts up an equal stake and receives a hand. The pot must then be opened by a player holding a hand of the value of a pair of knaves (jacks) or better. If no player holds so valuable a hand the deal passes and each player adds a small sum to the pot or pool. When the pot is opened the opener does so by putting up any sum he chooses, within the limit, and his companions must pay in the same amount or "drop." They also possess the right to raise the opener. The new cards called for are then dealt and the opener starts the betting, the play proceeding as in the regular game. ["Encyclopaedia Britannica," 11th ed., 1911, "Poker." The article notes "Jack-Pots were introduced about 1870."]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for jackpot



The largest win available in a slot machine

Related Terms

hit the jackpot

[1940s+ Gambling; fr the progressive jack pot in poker, which stipulates that if no player has a pair of jacks or better to open, then on the next hand, after anteing again, someone must have queens or better, and so on; thus the pot could become quite large; the poker use, ''a very large win,'' is found by 1881]

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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Idioms and Phrases with jackpot


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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