[ boks ]
See synonyms for: boxboxedboxesboxing on

  1. a container, case, or receptacle, usually rectangular, of wood, metal, cardboard, etc., and often with a lid or removable cover.

  2. the quantity contained in a box: She bought a box of candy as a gift.

  1. Chiefly British. a gift or present: a Christmas box.

  2. a compartment or section in a public place, shut or railed off for the accommodation of a small number of people, especially in a theater, opera house, sports stadium, etc.

  3. a small enclosure or area in a courtroom, for witnesses or the jury.

  4. a small shelter: a sentry's box.

  5. British.

    • a small house, cabin, or cottage, as for use while hunting: a shooting box.

    • a telephone booth.

    • a wardrobe trunk.

  6. the driver's seat on a coach.

  7. the section of a wagon in which passengers or parcels are carried.

  8. Automotive. the section of a truck in which cargo is carried.

  9. the box, Informal. television:Are there any good shows on the box tonight?

  10. part of a page of a newspaper or periodical set off in some manner, as by lines, a border, or white space.

  11. any enclosing, protective case or housing, sometimes including its contents: a gear box; a fire-alarm box.

  12. Baseball.

    • either of two marked spaces, one on each side of the plate, in which the batter stands.

    • either of two marked spaces, one outside of first base and the other outside of third, where the coaches stand.

    • the pitcher's mound.

    • the marked space where the catcher stands.

  13. a difficult situation; predicament.

  14. Agriculture. a bowl or pit cut in the side of a tree for collecting sap.

  15. Jazz Slang.

    • a stringed instrument, as a guitar.

    • a piano.

  16. Informal.

  17. Slang. a coffin.

  18. Slang: Vulgar.

verb (used with object)
  1. to put into a box: She boxed the glassware before the movers came.

  2. to enclose or confine as in a box (often followed by in or up).

  1. to furnish with a box.

  2. to form into a box or the shape of a box.

  3. to block so as to keep from passing or achieving better position (often followed by in): The Ferrari was boxed in by two other cars on the tenth lap.

  4. to group together for consideration as one unit: to box bills in the legislature.

  5. Building Trades. to enclose or conceal (a building or structure) as with boarding.

  6. Agriculture. to make a hole or cut in (a tree) for sap to collect.

  7. to mix (paint, varnish, or the like) by pouring from one container to another and back again.

  8. Australian.

    • to mix groups of sheep that should be kept separated.

    • to confuse someone or something.

Verb Phrases
  1. box out, Basketball. to position oneself between an opposing player and the basket to hinder the opposing player from rebounding or tipping in a shot; block out.

Idioms about box

  1. out of the box, Australian Slang. remarkable or exceptional; extraordinary.

  2. outside the box, Informal. in an innovative or unconventional manner; with a fresh perspective: You have to think outside the box and adapt those strategies to your business.: Also out of the box .

Origin of box

First recorded before 1000; Middle English, Old English, probably from Late Latin buxis, a reshaping of Latin pyxis; see boîte, pyx

Other words from box

  • boxlike, adjective

Other definitions for box (2 of 4)

[ boks ]

verb (used with object)
  1. to fight against (someone) in a boxing match.

  2. to strike with the hand or fist, especially on the ear.

verb (used without object)
  1. to fight with the fists; participate in a boxing match; spar.

  2. to be a professional or experienced prizefighter or boxer: He has boxed since he was 16.

  1. a blow, as with the hand or fist: He gave the boy a box on his ear.

Origin of box

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English box “a blow,” boxen “to beat,” of uncertain origin

Other definitions for box (3 of 4)

[ boks ]

  1. an evergreen shrub or small tree of the genus Buxus, especially B. sempervirens, having shiny, elliptic, dark-green leaves, used for ornamental borders, hedges, etc., and yielding a hard, durable wood.

  2. the wood itself.

  1. any of various other shrubs or trees, especially species of eucalyptus.

Origin of box

First recorded before 950; Middle English, Old English, from Latin buxus “boxwood,” from Greek pýxos

Other definitions for box (4 of 4)

[ boks ]

verb (used with object)
  1. Nautical. to boxhaul (often followed by off).

  2. Meteorology. to fly around the center of a storm in a boxlike pattern in order to gather meteorological data: to box a storm.

Origin of box

First recorded in 1745–55; probably from Spanish bojar “to sail around,” earlier boxar, perhaps from Catalan vogir “to (cause to) turn,” ultimately derived from Latin volvere (see revolve); influenced by box1 (verb) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use box in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for box (1 of 3)


/ (bɒks) /

  1. a receptacle or container made of wood, cardboard, etc, usually rectangular and having a removable or hinged lid

  2. Also called: boxful the contents of such a receptacle or the amount it can contain: he ate a whole box of chocolates

  1. any of various containers for a specific purpose: a money box; letter box

  2. (often in combination) any of various small cubicles, kiosks, or shelters: a telephone box or callbox; a sentry box; a signal box on a railway

  3. a separate compartment in a public place for a small group of people, as in a theatre or certain restaurants

  4. an enclosure within a courtroom: See jury box, witness box

  5. a compartment for a horse in a stable or a vehicle: See loosebox, horsebox

  6. British a small country house occupied by sportsmen when following a field sport, esp shooting

    • a protective housing for machinery or mechanical parts

    • the contents of such a box

    • (in combination): a gearbox

  7. a shaped device of light tough material worn by sportsmen to protect the genitals, esp in cricket

  8. a section of printed matter on a page, enclosed by lines, a border, or white space

  9. a central agency to which mail is addressed and from which it is collected or redistributed: a post-office box; to reply to a box number in a newspaper advertisement

  10. the central part of a computer or the casing enclosing it

  11. short for penalty box

  12. baseball either of the designated areas in which the batter may stand

  13. the raised seat on which the driver sits in a horse-drawn coach

  14. NZ a wheeled container for transporting coal in a mine

  15. Australian and NZ an accidental mixing of herds or flocks

  16. a hole cut into the base of a tree to collect the sap

  17. short for Christmas box

  18. a device for dividing water into two or more ditches in an irrigation system

  19. an informal name for a coffin

  20. taboo, slang the female genitals

  21. be a box of birds NZ to be very well indeed

  22. the box British informal television

  23. think outside the box or think out of the box to think in a different, innovative, or original manner, esp with regard to business practices, products, systems, etc

  24. tick all the boxes to satisfy all of the apparent requirements for success

  25. out of the box Australian informal outstanding or excellent: a day out of the box

  1. (tr) to put into a box

  2. (tr ; usually foll by in or up) to prevent from moving freely; confine

  1. (tr foll by in) printing to enclose (text) within a ruled frame

  2. (tr) to make a cut in the base of (a tree) in order to collect the sap

  3. (tr) Australian and NZ to mix (flocks or herds) accidentally

  4. (tr sometimes foll by up) NZ to confuse: I am all boxed up

  5. nautical short for boxhaul

  6. box the compass nautical to name the compass points in order

Origin of box

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

Derived forms of box

  • boxlike, adjective

British Dictionary definitions for box (2 of 3)


/ (bɒks) /

  1. (tr) to fight (an opponent) in a boxing match

  2. (intr) to engage in boxing

  1. (tr) to hit (a person) with the fist; punch or cuff

  2. box clever to behave in a careful and cunning way

  1. a punch with the fist, esp on the ear

Origin of box

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

British Dictionary definitions for box (3 of 3)


/ (bɒks) /

  1. 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

  2. the wood of this tree: See boxwood (def. 1)

  1. any of several trees the timber or foliage of which resembles this tree, esp various species of Eucalyptus with rough bark

Origin of 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

Other Idioms and Phrases with 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.