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jack-in-the-box

or jack-in-a-box

[ jak-in-thuh-boks ]

noun

, plural jack-in-the-box·es.
  1. a toy consisting of a box from which an enclosed figure springs up when the lid is opened.


jack-in-the-box

noun

  1. a toy consisting of a figure on a compressed spring in a box, which springs out when the lid is opened


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Word History and Origins

Origin of jack-in-the-box1

First recorded in 1545–55

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Example Sentences

The jack-in-the-box has popped, just as we expected it to, but it still made us gasp.

A little drawer shoots out almost in my face, startling me like a jack-in-the-box.

Sergeant Jimmy Bagby kept bobbing up and down like a pudgy jack-in-the-box that is slightly stiff in its joints.

Jack-in-the-box was the minister, because the little mistress thought he stood better than anyone else.

Out of the jungle of machinery way back a head popped up like a Jack-in-the-box.

Inside I compressed one of those jack-in-the-box snakes that spring out when free to do so.

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