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a container, case, or receptacle, usually rectangular, of wood, metal, cardboard, etc., and often with a lid or removable cover.
the quantity contained in a box:
She bought a box of candy as a gift.
Chiefly British. a gift or present:
a Christmas box.
post-office box.
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.
a small enclosure or area in a courtroom, for witnesses or the jury.
a small shelter:
a sentry’s box.

a small house, cabin, or cottage, as for use while hunting:
a shooting box.
a telephone booth.
a wardrobe trunk.

box stall.
the driver’s seat on a coach.
the section of a wagon in which passengers or parcels are carried.
Automotive. the section of a truck in which cargo is carried.
the box, Informal. television:
Are there any good shows on the box tonight?
part of a page of a newspaper or periodical set off in some manner, as by lines, a border, or white space.
any enclosing, protective case or housing, sometimes including its contents:
a gear box; a fire-alarm box.

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.

a difficult situation; predicament.
Agriculture. a bowl or pit cut in the side of a tree for collecting sap.
Jazz Slang.

a stringed instrument, as a guitar.
a piano.


a phonograph.
a boom box.
a computer.

Slang. a coffin.
Slang: Vulgar.

the vulva or vagina.
basket (def 9).

to put into a box:
She boxed the glassware before the movers came.
to enclose or confine as in a box (often followed by in or up).
to furnish with a box.
to form into a box or the shape of a box.
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.
to group together for consideration as one unit:
to box bills in the legislature.
Building Trades. to enclose or conceal (a building or structure) as with boarding.
Agriculture. to make a hole or cut in (a tree) for sap to collect.
to mix (paint, varnish, or the like) by pouring from one container to another and back again.

to mix groups of sheep that should be kept separated.
to confuse someone or something.

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.
a blow, as with the hand or fist:
He gave the boy a box on his ear.
to strike with the hand or fist, especially on the ear.
to fight against (someone) in a boxing match.
to fight with the fists; participate in a boxing match; spar.
to be a professional or experienced prizefighter or boxer:
He has boxed since he was 16.
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.
the wood itself.
Compare boxwood (defs 1, 2).
any of various other shrubs or trees, especially species of eucalyptus.
Nautical. to boxhaul (often followed by off).
Meteorology. to fly around the center of a storm in a boxlike pattern in order to gather meteorological data:
to box a storm.
box the compass, Nautical. to recite all of the points of the compass in a clockwise order.
Contemporary Examples

Brooke Astor’s $60 Million Signature Ralph Gardner, Jr. June 17, 2009
The Smithsonian, John Calhoun, and His Heirs Michael Tomasky August 9, 2012
Was ‘Innocence of Muslims’ Director Also an Informant? Christine Pelisek, Michael Daly September 13, 2012
A Time Bomb in Afghanistan’s Ballot Box Kimberly Dozier May 16, 2014
“Double Down”: 13 Must Read Moments from the New Book William O’Connor November 6, 2013

Historical Examples

The Boy Aviators’ Flight for a Fortune Wilbur Lawton
The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
Later Queens of the French Stage H. Noel Williams
Frank Roscoe’s Secret Allen Chapman
Thistle and Rose Amy Walton

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 contain: he ate a whole box of chocolates
any of various containers for a specific purpose: a money box, letter box
(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
a separate compartment in a public place for a small group of people, as in a theatre or certain restaurants
an enclosure within a courtroom See jury box, witness box
a compartment for a horse in a stable or a vehicle See loosebox, horsebox
(Brit) 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

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 redistributed: a 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
(Austral & 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
(NZ) be a box of birds, to be very well indeed
(Brit, informal) the box, television
think outside the box, 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
(Austral, informal) out of the box, outstanding or excellent: a day out of the box
(transitive) to put into a box
(transitive; usually foll by in or up) to prevent from moving freely; confine
(printing) (transitive) foll by in. to enclose (text) within a ruled frame
(transitive) to make a cut in the base of (a tree) in order to collect the sap
(transitive) (Austral & NZ) to mix (flocks or herds) accidentally
(NZ) (transitive) sometimes foll by up. to confuse: I am all boxed up
(nautical) short for boxhaul
(nautical) box the compass, to name the compass points in order
(transitive) to fight (an opponent) in a boxing match
(intransitive) to engage in boxing
(transitive) 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
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 tree See boxwood (sense 1)
any of several trees the timber or foliage of which resembles this tree, esp various species of Eucalyptus with rough bark

A coffin (1600s+)
A safe; vault; bank vault (1900s+ Underworld)
The vulva; vagina: Her box ain’t no rose blossom (1600s+)
The male genitals, esp as displayed by tight pants; basket (1960s+ Homosexuals)
ny stringed instrument, esp a guitar (1930s+ jazz musicians)
An accordion; groan box (1950s+)
A phonograph (1920s+)
Portable stereo radio; ghetto box: Hey, man, don’t mess with my box/ They were allowed to keep their boxes because their age exempted them from normal court procedures (1970s+)
A very tight and awkward situation; cleft stick; bind: Those guidelines put me in a hell of a box

To die: Oh, she boxed last night (1970s+ Medical)
To kill: Samalson planned to go back Monday morning, but he got boxed (1970s+)

box office
box score
box the compass


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  • Boxing

    the material used to make boxes or casings. a boxlike enclosure; casing. an act or instance of putting into or furnishing with a box. the act, technique, or profession of fighting with the fists, with or without boxing gloves. a container, case, or receptacle, usually rectangular, of wood, metal, cardboard, etc., and often with a […]

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