box

4
[ boks ]
/ bɒks /
|

verb (used with object)

Nautical. to boxhaul (often followed by off).
Meteorology. to fly around the center of a storm in a boxlike pattern in order to gather meteorological data: to box a storm.

Idioms

    box the compass, Nautical. to recite all of the points of the compass in a clockwise order.

Origin of box

4
1745–55; probably < Spanish bojar to sail around, earlier boxar, perhaps < Catalan vogir to (cause to) turn ≪ Latin volvere (see revolve); influenced by box1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for box the compass (1 of 3)

box

1
/ (bɒks) /

noun


verb

Derived Forms

boxlike, adjective

Word Origin for box

Old English box, from Latin buxus from Greek puxos box ³

British Dictionary definitions for box the compass (2 of 3)

box

2
/ (bɒks) /

verb

(tr) to fight (an opponent) in a boxing match
(intr) to engage in boxing
(tr) to hit (a person) with the fist; punch or cuff
box clever to behave in a careful and cunning way

noun

a punch with the fist, esp on the ear

Word Origin for box

C14: of uncertain origin; perhaps related to Dutch boken to shunt, push into position

British Dictionary definitions for box the compass (3 of 3)

box

3
/ (bɒks) /

noun

a dense slow-growing evergreen tree or shrub of the genus Buxus, esp B. sempervirens, which has small shiny leaves and is used for hedges, borders, and garden mazes: family Buxaceae
the wood of this treeSee boxwood (def. 1)
any of several trees the timber or foliage of which resembles this tree, esp various species of Eucalyptus with rough bark

Word Origin for box

Old English, from Latin buxus
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

Idioms and Phrases with box the compass (1 of 2)

box the compass

Make a complete turnabout or reversal, as in With a change of ownership, the editorial page boxed the compass politically, now supporting the Senator. Originally this was (and continues to be) a nautical term, meaning “repeat the 32 points of the compass in order.” In the early 1800s it began to be used figuratively.


Idioms and Phrases with box the compass (2 of 2)

box

In addition to the idioms beginning with box

  • box office
  • box score
  • box the compass

also see:

  • in a bind (box)
  • on one's soapbox
  • pandora's box
  • stuff the ballot box

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