noun, plural jack-in-the-box·es.
Origin of jack-in-the-box
Examples from the Web for jack-in-the-box
The jack-in-the-box has popped, just as we expected it to, but it still made us gasp.
It was true that Jack-in-the-Box was partial to boys; in fact, nobody else could make his acquaintance.
His small car, which he drove himself, stood before the door, and from that door he flew like a Jack-in-the-box as we dashed up.The Brightener|C. N. Williamson
Here his artistic tastes dwelt in a state of suppression, like Jack-in-the-box.Wenderholme|Philip Gilbert Hamerton
My friend wouldn't ha' given a second thought to it if the gentleman hadn't vanished like a jack-in-the-box.Number Seventeen|Louis Tracy
I always have to laugh at the way they pronounce his name; as they don't understand French, they call it Jack-in-the-Box.
British Dictionary definitions for jack-in-the-box
noun plural jack-in-the-boxes or jacks-in-the-box
Word Origin and History for jack-in-the-box
1560s, originally a name for a sharp or cheat, "who deceived tradesmen by substituting empty boxes for others full of money" [Robert Nares, "A Glossary of Words, Phrases, Names, and Allusions," London, 1905]. As a type of toy, it is attested from 1702.