[boks-aw-fis, -of-is]
  1. of or relating to the box office or to the business and commercial aspects of the theater: a box-office window; box-office receipts; a box-office attraction.

Origin of box-office

First recorded in 1805–15; adj. use of box office

box office

  1. the office of a theater, stadium, or the like, at which tickets are sold.
  2. Theater.
    1. receipts from a play or other entertainment.
    2. entertainment popular enough to attract paying audiences and make a profit: This show will be good box office.

Origin of box office

First recorded in 1780–90 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for box-office

gate, receipts

Examples from the Web for box-office

Contemporary Examples of box-office

Historical Examples of box-office

  • No, every place was taken when my servant went to the box-office.

  • I went boldly to the box-office and encountered the same young man.

    Old Fogy

    James Huneker

  • Then skirting a big beadle in blue, policemen, and loungers, I reached the box-office.

    Old Fogy

    James Huneker

  • All of them his, all box-office best bets and all still going strong!

    Sundry Accounts

    Irvin S. Cobb

  • Would you mind coming to the box-office a few moments before you dress?

    Sister Carrie

    Theodore Dreiser

British Dictionary definitions for box-office

box office

  1. an office at a theatre, cinema, etc, where tickets are sold
  2. the receipts from a play, film, etc
    1. the public appeal of an actor or productionthe musical was bad box office
    2. (as modifier)a box-office success
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-office

box office


The office where seats for a play, concert, or other form of entertainment may be purchased, as in Tickets are available at the box office. It is so called because originally (17th century) it was the place for hiring a box, a special compartment of theater seats set aside for ladies. [Second half of 1700s]


The financial receipts from a performance; also, a show's relative success in attracting a paying audience. For example, You may not consider it great art, but this play is good box office. [c. 1900]

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