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[jak-in-th uh-boks] /ˈdʒæk ɪn ðəˌbɒks/

noun, plural jack-in-the-boxes.
a toy consisting of a box from which an enclosed figure springs up when the lid is opened.
noun (pl) jack-in-the-boxes, jacks-in-the-box
a toy consisting of a figure on a compressed spring in a box, which springs out when the lid is opened

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.


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