one of a group of strips of wood or similar objects, as straws or toothpicks, used in the game of jackstraws.
jackstraws, (used with a singular verb) a game in which players compete in picking up, one by one, as many jackstraws as possible without disturbing the heap.
  1. a straw-stuffed figure of a man; scarecrow; straw man.
  2. an insignificant person.

Origin of jackstraw

First recorded in 1590–1600; after Jack Straw, name or nickname of one of the leaders of the rebellion headed by Wat Tyler in 1381 in England
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for jackstraws

Historical Examples of jackstraws

  • Sue had stolen some matches and was using them as Jackstraws.

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

  • The children were tumbled in a heap like a pile of jackstraws.


    Ruth Sawyer

  • And why were they all crosswise with each other, like jackstraws?

    Stepsons of Light

    Eugene Manlove Rhodes

  • She was past mistress of the pretty game of jackstraws, much in vogue at that time.

    Homespun Tales

    Kate Douglas Wiggin

  • The chairs and easels were piled up like jackstraws at the beginning of a game.

British Dictionary definitions for jackstraws



(functioning as singular) another name for spillikins
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