verb (used with object)

Verb Phrases

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.


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

before 1000; Middle English, Old English, probably < Late Latin buxis, a reshaping of Latin pyxis; see boîte
Related formsbox·like, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for boxlike

Historical Examples of boxlike

  • The cottage was a little, boxlike place, and one had to climb steps to get to it.

    Carolyn of the Corners

    Ruth Belmore Endicott

  • He sprang from his bed and stood before the window of his boxlike room.

  • In Figure 16, a radiator is shown in a boxlike structure in the cellar.

    General Science

    Bertha M. Clark

  • About fifteen yards away, a man bent over a transparent, boxlike contrivance in which something fluttered.

    When the Sleepers Woke

    Arthur Leo Zagat

  • Dis didn't seem to have a pole star; however, a boxlike constellation turned slowly around the invisible point of the pole.

    Planet of the Damned

    Harry Harrison

British Dictionary definitions for boxlike




a receptacle or container made of wood, cardboard, etc, usually rectangular and having a removable or hinged lid
Also called: boxful the contents of such a receptacle or the amount it can containhe ate a whole box of chocolates
any of various containers for a specific purposea money box; letter box
(often in combination) any of various small cubicles, kiosks, or sheltersa telephone box or callbox; a sentry box; a signal box on a railway
a separate compartment in a public place for a small group of people, as in a theatre or certain restaurants
an enclosure within a courtroomSee jury box, witness box
a compartment for a horse in a stable or a vehicleSee loosebox, horsebox
British a small country house occupied by sportsmen when following a field sport, esp shooting
  1. a protective housing for machinery or mechanical parts
  2. the contents of such a box
  3. (in combination)a gearbox
a shaped device of light tough material worn by sportsmen to protect the genitals, esp in cricket
a section of printed matter on a page, enclosed by lines, a border, or white space
a central agency to which mail is addressed and from which it is collected or redistributeda post-office box; to reply to a box number in a newspaper advertisement
the central part of a computer or the casing enclosing it
short for penalty box
baseball either of the designated areas in which the batter may stand
the raised seat on which the driver sits in a horse-drawn coach
NZ a wheeled container for transporting coal in a mine
Australian and NZ an accidental mixing of herds or flocks
a hole cut into the base of a tree to collect the sap
short for Christmas box
a device for dividing water into two or more ditches in an irrigation system
an informal name for a coffin
taboo, slang the female genitals
be a box of birds NZ to be very well indeed
the box British informal television
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
tick all the boxes to satisfy all of the apparent requirements for success
out of the box Australian informal outstanding or excellenta day out of the box


(tr) to put into a box
(tr ; usually foll by in or up) to prevent from moving freely; confine
(tr foll by in) printing to enclose (text) within a ruled frame
(tr) to make a cut in the base of (a tree) in order to collect the sap
(tr) Australian and NZ to mix (flocks or herds) accidentally
(tr sometimes foll by up) NZ to confuseI am all boxed up
nautical short for boxhaul
box the compass nautical to name the compass points in order
Derived Formsboxlike, adjective

Word Origin for box

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




(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


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




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

Word Origin and History for boxlike



Old English box "a wooden container," also the name of a type of shrub, from Late Latin buxis, from Greek pyxis "boxwood box," from pyxos "box tree," of uncertain origin. See OED entry for discussion. German Büchse also is a Latin loan word.

Meaning "compartment at a theater" is from c.1600. Meaning "pigeon-hole at a post office" is from 1832. Meaning "television" is from 1950. Slang meaning "vulva" is attested 17c., according to "Dictionary of American Slang;" modern use seems to date from c.World War II, perhaps originally Australian, on notion of "box of tricks." Box office is 1786; in the figurative sense of "financial element of a performance" it is first recorded 1904. Box lunch (n.) attested from 1899. The box set, "multiple-album, CD or cassette issue of the work of an artist" is attested by 1955.



"a blow," c.1300, of uncertain origin, possibly related to Middle Dutch boke, Middle High German buc, and Danish bask, all meaning "a blow," perhaps imitative.



"to beat or whip," late 14c., from box (n.2). Meaning "to fight with the fists" is from 1560s. Related: Boxed; boxing.



"to put into storage, put into a box," mid-15c., from box (n.1). Related: Boxed; boxing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with boxlike


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.