Main definitions of box in English

: box1box2box3box4

box1

noun

  • 1A container with a flat base and sides, typically square or rectangular and having a lid.

    ‘a cigarette box’
    ‘a hat box’
    • ‘The presence of the dozen or so cardboard boxes was hard to miss.’
    • ‘They were muscular all around from working hard all summer lifting heavy boxes for their father's moving business.’
    • ‘It also enhances your gripping power, and helps to strengthen muscles that are used in lifting boxes and other heavy items that you may encounter during household chores.’
    • ‘A ripening banana put in a lidded box with green tomatoes turns them red.’
    • ‘If there is no source of heat in the home, cover plants with boxes, heavy fabric or a material that will trap existing heat from the floor or an inner wall.’
    • ‘Instead, hens north of the Border will carry on living out their miserable lives crammed into dark, tiny boxes to boost farmers' profit margins.’
    • ‘Officers raided the flat and seized seven boxes containing 72,000 cigarettes.’
    • ‘The ground was sandy gravel and some long heavy open boxes and shelves were placed in the room and against the walls.’
    • ‘The crystal pieces are contemporary in style and stylishly presented in glossy white boxes with a turquoise silk ribbon.’
    • ‘We carry boxes along a dark, narrow corridor, that has steps up at either end, meaning that it is sunken.’
    • ‘These pastry layers tend to be towards the middle of the box and were significantly darker than the rest of the pastry sheets.’
    • ‘Finally, my dishes, kitchen equipment and all other worldly possessions have arrived and my living room is floor to ceiling with big heavy boxes.’
    • ‘After hours of lugging and unpacking heavy boxes, he would freshen up, put on a jacket, and work the floor of the restaurant as wine steward until the end of the night.’
    • ‘Everything nowadays comes in high quality, glossy cardboard boxes, or tins with lovely labels on.’
    • ‘However, simply stuffing empty boxes into a green bin or tossing a used can into an environmentally-friendly container isn't recycling.’
    • ‘He slammed his feet down hard and rolled the boxes forward under his weight.’
    • ‘She didn't recall injuring herself, but she had been lifting heavy boxes.’
    • ‘The boxes were heavy, but Joe made it look like child's play.’
    • ‘I pulled a few boxes from the dark attic, using a flashlight, listening to the mice scurry around.’
    • ‘The biscuits come frozen in boxes, hard as hockey pucks.’
    carton, pack, packet, package
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The contents of a box.
      ‘she ate a whole box of chocolates that night’
      • ‘We aren't content with one box of fresh berries, or one balmy day in the garden, or one vacation sometime later.’
      • ‘When I was a kid there would always be a box of glacé fruit at Christmas which largely remained uneaten and which I would not have touched in a million years.’
      • ‘I plan to auction off the cards, as I have over half a box of them left.’
      • ‘But before I went to the party, I had to get rid of two boxes of Green Party pamphlets.’
      • ‘This patch of earth has yielded around 20 boxes of finds as each layer of the dig took the investigators deeper and deeper into the town's past with some fascinating results.’
      • ‘We were given a box of mystery ingredients and had to come up with something in five minutes.’
      • ‘The reason I hadn't finished this particular box of cornflakes was because my mum had recently replenished it with the contents of a new box.’
      • ‘But you have to be a real wizard in the kitchen to be able to turn a box of random ingredients into a meal that would not feel out of place at a fancy restaurant.’
      • ‘Macaroni is my favorite meal but I can't eat a whole box!’
      • ‘We have a stock of drinking water, washing water, a box of tinned food, biscuits, crisps, chocolates, we certainly won't go hungry.’
      • ‘How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?’
      • ‘I just ate a box of sweets and feel really quite sick.’
      • ‘I can't just go around frivolously spending my hard earned cash on boxes of cookies, to support an organization that has nothing to do with me.’
      • ‘A box of wafers is demolished, down to the crumbs at the bottom of the wax liner, which are shaken out and inhaled.’
      • ‘When we think of traditional food, some folks get a vision of a big bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken and a family box of fries.’
      • ‘Seb crossed his legs and gave me a contented smile, taking a handful of MY box of cheesy snacks.’
      • ‘A gloved hand slammed merrily on a wooden table, shaking the contents on it and clattering a box of various tools to the floor.’
      • ‘Instead, I'm going to sit here and work my way through our box of 64 granola bars.’
      • ‘If someone hands you a box of chocolates and you graciously take one into your mouth and you realize you hate the flavor, what do you do?’
      • ‘I am fairly certain that cold medication was developed for moms who need to make it through the day without collapsing into a box of tissues.’
    2. 1.2the boxBritish informal Television or a television set.
      ‘we sat around watching the box’
      • ‘but all I really did as a kid was play in the street and watch the box.’
      • ‘As predicted I stayed home Friday night, kicked back and watched all manner of light entertainment on the box.’
      • ‘Most people have busy and/or fulfilled lives, and lack the time or inclination to follow closely every sport on the box.’
      • ‘The sun was shining outside but the sports offerings on the box were simply too good to pass up.’
      • ‘Like millions of others in the affluent West, I have spent much of the last month glued to the box, watching as the world hurtled out of control.’
      • ‘Watch it on the box when it's hopefully been distilled into something worth watching.’
      • ‘She merely sat curled up on the sofa, the remote for the large screen television in hand, and watched the box quietly, waiting for her friend to arise.’
    3. 1.3informal A casing containing a computer.
      ‘the new model is half the cost of an equivalent IBM box’
      • ‘As we've seen before, tweaking your memory times would be a good idea to get the most out of your box.’
      • ‘You don't always need to have the latest and greatest hardware (but it helps) to get the most out of your box.’
      • ‘Over here, we have the dead power supply which came out of our box, and over here we have the replacement power supply.’
      • ‘It does nothing except copy a bit of code and has no effect until the box is re-started.’
      • ‘Unplugging and plugging back in the box didn't do anything either.’
    4. 1.4informal A coffin.
      ‘I always thought I'd be in a box when I finally left here’
      • ‘They stand up, slowly, then pace their dispassionate bodies toward those two coffins, coffin-like boxes.’
      • ‘It began look like I was the product of some genetic experiment involving something kept in 3 coffin shaped boxes.’
    5. 1.5historical A coachman's seat.
  • 2An area on a page that is to be filled in or that contains separate printed matter.

    ‘tick the box on the coupon’
    • ‘Now they're forced to tick boxes and fill paperwork in.’
    • ‘They draw up the page with boxes for ads, stories and photographs.’
    • ‘In order to accomplish this, they place the links on the lower half of the page within a separate box.’
    • ‘Applicants must indicate their wish to participate in this Scheme by marking the appropriate box on the front page of the application form.’
    • ‘The remainder of the boxes were filled by pupils in the local Convent Primary School, children attending the playschool and also the little girls in the Brownie group.’
    • ‘There are forms to be filled in, boxes to be ticked, and statements to be checked.’
    • ‘He pointed towards one of the upper right hand corner boxes.’
    • ‘You can understand the thinking: with support workers there to tick boxes and fill in forms, skilled staff would be freed up for more demanding jobs.’
    • ‘At the bottom of the front page is a box stating: ‘As always, your feedback is very welcome.’’
    • ‘Then click the X box in the upper right hand corner of the screen to return to the desktop.’
    • ‘Moreover, information boxes, tables, and relevant illustrations complement the material presented.’
    • ‘For those who have visited the site over the year and filled the comment box, thank you and keep it up.’
    • ‘It was a bit of a theme among players and staff in the wake of this triumph, a result that proves Gretna tick the only boxes that matter.’
    • ‘Then there's about a million boxes to fill in, but hardly any of them apply to me.’
    • ‘The words didn't fit in the box and I filled the margins so that anyone reading the form would notice what I had written.’
    • ‘This box should include contact information for your business and company background information.’
    • ‘The sheet of paper was so long that i didn't bother filling out the 78 boxes but just the one.’
    • ‘The boxes can also be displayed with or without a caption and colors can be customized.’
    • ‘None of this sways the lunatic, however, and the boxes are printed.’
    • ‘Yes, I know that's a coy name for a database but perhaps I was feeling coy when I filled in the title box.’
    1. 2.1 An area on a computer screen for user input or displaying information.
      ‘a new box appears containing the names of all the programs which are opened’
      • ‘It has a slider along its bottom edge, which can be used to scroll icons left and right if there are more icons than can be displayed in the box.’
      • ‘This landing page draws attention to the auction information boxes.’
      • ‘Double-clicking on the directory brings the user to the Linux box with the test data, without realizing it.’
      • ‘It's easy to overlook the relevant box and users can easily end up with a listing they really don't want.’
      • ‘I didn't check the others, but the Opteron box was displaying a generic screensaver over a locked console.’
      • ‘Six boxes appear on the computer screen, each of which contains a different shape designed to be difficult to describe in words.’
      • ‘One at a time, x's start to appear in the boxes on the screen, and you are told that every time this happens you are to push the key corresponding to the box.’
      • ‘In much of Europe, there is an ‘opt-in’ policy, so a visitor will have to actively click a box to say that information can be used.’
      • ‘Immediately a small box appeared on the screen requesting a password.’
      • ‘The computer made a sickly beeping sound and a box popped onto the screen.’
      • ‘Onscreen wizards guide you through the trickier tasks and hint boxes appear each time you try something new.’
      • ‘I've got a complex Javascript form which assembles a search string from information the user has typed into various input boxes.’
      • ‘Participants were asked to guess which of four identical boxes appearing on the screen had been selected by the computer.’
      • ‘You can move maps and informational boxes around with ease.’
      • ‘Alerts appeared on the screen, little boxes with red writing warning me of the presence of malware.’
      • ‘For example, users can type queries directly into the search box on the TrustWatch toolbar.’
      • ‘Leonti stared at the information box displayed on the main monitor of the Sestuan.’
      • ‘The bug created a means for hackers to inject malware into vulnerable Windows boxes providing a user can be induced into viewing a maliciously constructed image.’
      • ‘No Linux port can run on that system unless the user opens up the box and makes alterations to the hardware.’
      • ‘Your password is a phrase which can be as long as you like, although the box displays about 70-odd characters at a time.’
    2. 2.2British A box junction.
      ‘do not enter the box until your exit is clear’
      • ‘The green cycle lanes and advance stop boxes at traffic lights across the city make life safer for cyclists and could well be saving lives, but accidents that don't happen don't get into the press.’
      • ‘They'll buy this car because it's cheap, and as a result of that, they're going to be tearing around Britain's yellow boxes and bus lanes in a genuinely very good little car.’
      • ‘At every set of traffic lights on the way queuing drivers blocked the cycle lanes and priority boxes.’
    3. 2.3the boxSoccer The penalty area.
      ‘he curled in a brilliant second from the edge of the box’
      • ‘Amoruso rose to meet a Ricksen corner and the ball broke in the six-yard box and Flo smacked it into the net for his 21st of the season.’
      • ‘Clydebank almost grabbed the lead in the 31st minute when their trialist wriggled free in the box, but he shot inches wide of the near post.’
      • ‘The Hearts captain, in possession, tried to check his run in the box and was bumped over by his pursuer.’
      • ‘Dargo, lurking in front of goal, couldn't make a clean connection, but the ball spun behind him to Murray on the left-hand side of the box.’
      • ‘In the 88th he appeared on the other side of the box and fired in another shot, the one that was deflected into the arms of the goalkeeper.’
      • ‘Meehan could only blast over from the left hand side of the box after Ferguson slid a precision pass through to him.’
      • ‘Goal raids were frantic and the keepers were kept busy as the balls shot into the box and past the bars regularly.’
      • ‘He carried the ball at pace from halfway towards the box before cracking a right-foot shot from 20 yards out.’
    4. 2.4the box" or "the batter's boxBaseball The area occupied by the batter.
      ‘ten thousand people booed him when he stepped into the box’
      • ‘His world may be a mess, but the one place he can control things is in the batter's box.’
      • ‘He added to his reputation by telling all that he would hit his mother with a pitch if she walked into the batter's box.’
      • ‘It was there when things began to click and the move to the batter's box began to pay dividends.’
      • ‘With Edmonds on first base, McGwire started to move from the on-deck circle to the batter's box.’
      • ‘I want to stand in the same batter's box where Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig stood.’
      • ‘What is clear is that as a result the batter's box was obliterated.’
      • ‘If he does, the umpire will merely direct the proper batter to take his place in the batter's box while inheriting the count.’
      • ‘Rice promptly pulled out his tape measure and measured the proper outline of the batter's box.’
      • ‘The umpire called him out for stepping out of the batter's box.’
      • ‘As Podsednik stepped into the batter's box, my friend asked me if I knew anything about the guy.’
      • ‘As a batter steps into the box, Vin tells you where he comes from, what his mother and father do, or what he likes to read.’
      • ‘Moreno stood in the batter's box and watched the play along with the 19,517 fans in attendance.’
      • ‘He will be in the batter's box facing Major League pitching every fifth day.’
      • ‘He inexplicably carried the ball out of the box, dropped it and retrieved it with his hand.’
      • ‘This leaves the umpire in a position of judgment as to whether or not the batter is properly in the box at least six inches away from home plate.’
      • ‘He felt a twinge underneath the bone while pushing off out of the batter's box and running to first.’
      • ‘Make no doubt, it's stressful in that batter's box, never more so than when you've just looked at strike two.’
      • ‘Carew was so prepared by the time he stepped in the batter's box that many pitchers never stood a chance.’
      • ‘He'll never be a star defensively or on the base paths, so his value will come when he's in the batter's box.’
  • 3A separate section or enclosed area reserved for a group of people in a theatre or sports ground, or for witnesses or the jury in a law court.

    ‘the royal box’
    • ‘I was seated in the celebrity box with my family and I knew half the audience in the hall there.’
    • ‘Season tickets are exchanged for small stubs of paper, with window seats available in corporate boxes.’
    • ‘Do you worry that the affluent fans who buy the expensive club seats and luxury boxes will be quick to bail out if the game isn't as trendy in the future?’
    • ‘The pair caused quite a stir when they took their seats in the VIP box at Fenway Park.’
    • ‘More women sat in the uncovered area on the other side of the government box, but they were much fewer in number than were the men.’
    • ‘It could obtain the most popular seats, in the boxes and bleachers, and it did.’
    • ‘Across the field, to the right, are the posh seats and executive boxes.’
    • ‘The shopping centre also boasts a 14-screen Cineworld cinema which has 3,000 seats and VIP boxes with its own waitress service.’
    • ‘Croke Park will raise about €22 million next year from the resale of corporate boxes and premium level seats in the Cusack Stand.’
    • ‘The trial was expected to last for several more years, with only the second witness currently in the box.’
    • ‘At the root of the issue is whether Fisher is viewed as a saviour of Exiles rugby, or simply as more interested in saving his own seat in the committee box.’
    • ‘We took our seats in a private box, something that Julius had insisted on trying.’
    • ‘On Wednesday the final whistle sounded and he was there, perched on the ledge of the executive box, fists punching.’
    • ‘Who does the NFL think is buying those high-priced seats and luxury boxes?’
    • ‘Thankfully, one of the stadium staff kicked her out of our box.’
    • ‘What truly matters is the revenue a stadium is able to generate, through such things as luxury boxes, personal seat licenses, and signage.’
    • ‘A section of boxes climbs from the stage, then rows of benches rise high up the slope of the fan-shaped amphitheater.’
    • ‘Do witnesses get in the box and just express an opinion?’
    • ‘Each box has four seats and for $400 it includes the entire weekend of events.’
    • ‘There will be around 18,000 ‘premium’ seats and 160 executive boxes.’
    1. 3.1British A small country house for use when shooting or fishing.
      • ‘Ahern was instrumental in retaining a much reduced Irish fishing box, much to the disgust of the Spanish.’
      • ‘The fishing behind the boxes has slowed down considerably due to the havoc caused by the seals that come into the Ridge Pool with the high tide.’
      • ‘Available at furniture, storage supply, or home stores, these boxes come with open shelves, doors, or drawers.’
  • 4A protective casing for a piece of a mechanism.

    ‘in the second variation, a switch loop, only one cable enters the box’
    • ‘She removed another device, a mechanical box connected by a cord to a piece of metal with a plastic handle.’
    • ‘I just nodded and headed across the street, mechanically, holding a box that I didn't know how to use.’
    • ‘They continued on like this, until the little box attached to the wall, buzzed.’
    • ‘Eight of the illuminating plastic road safety boxes were smashed to pieces in a frenzied attack in the early hours of Sunday morning.’
    • ‘The emergency shut-off device was housed in a control box situated inside the engine room crew changing room.’
    • ‘So I ring the bell at the gate and out of the box comes the voice of Moses.’
    • ‘Once out of its protective box, any kind of radio wave can potentially ignite it until it is inserted inside the bomb.’
    • ‘The woman named Price moves forward and brings out a small box with a red light.’
    • ‘G. Rinker designed and constructed the mechanical feeding boxes.’
    • ‘Underneath the boxes was a foam piece that had underneath it the clear plastic hoses for the connecting tubing.’
    • ‘He laid it down and pressed a blue button on the mechanical box.’
    • ‘They have been used to damage a car last week and in another incident a phone box was blown to pieces.’
    • ‘The gear is fused into a series of thick, metallic protective boxes situated between the vehicle's passenger and driver seats.’
    • ‘Looking quickly back at the captain I typed my 4-digit code in the box and hit enter.’
    • ‘Because SAD is caused by a lack of light, exposure to additional light from a box can help to relieve the symptoms.’
    • ‘Sitting upon a cushion of black foam was a head-sized piece of intricate machinery, composed of a box and three cylinders along one corner.’
    • ‘About half a pint later the box vibrated violently, lights flashed and a voice ordered me back to the waitress, as a seat was waiting.’
    • ‘However, a clever lever mechanism collapses its box when the hood is closed, giving reasonable luggage space.’
    • ‘Make sure your spa comes with a protective box or panel designed to keep out rain and water from sprinkler systems.’
    • ‘Adjacent to each button on the response box was a small light used to provide feedback after each trial.’
    1. 4.1informal
      short for gearbox
      • ‘It's fun, it puts you back in control but you're still left longing for a manual box for the country roads.’
      • ‘Bungee cords hold the stereo box to the dash, a pair of gloves and a folded shirt serve as shock absorbers between the box and the dash.’
      • ‘Ford's excellent five-speed Tiptronic auto box also works well, ensuring smooth gearchanges and a suitably speedy kickdown.’
      • ‘Drop it down to second with some clunking from the sequential box, the revs rise, press the pedal to the floor and the world blurs.’
      • ‘The gear ratios of the five-speed box are well spaced and the shifting is smooth.’
      • ‘Simply plant the accelerator, try to keep pace with the gearchanges in the six-speed box and soak up the noise.’
      • ‘Most people assume the higher the horsepower rating on the box, the better the air compressor.’
    2. 4.2British A light shield for protecting a man's genitals in sport, especially in cricket.
      • ‘But afterwards they padded me back up and pushed me out the door again - only to discover that they hadn't put my box or thigh-pad back on!’
      • ‘Cricket boxes, shin pads, and gloves are all examples of equipment that should be worn to prevent injury.’
      • ‘He wonders why European sportsmen don't wear boxes to protect themselves from such painful eventualities, when Americans are so keen on them.’
      • ‘As we were getting changed, I noticed some of my new team-mates were putting on what looked like cricket boxes.’
      • ‘I realise that Thailand is not a cricketing nation, but wonder if protective boxes are available in Pattaya.’
  • 5A facility at a newspaper office for receiving replies to an advertisement.

    ‘write to me care of Box 112’
    1. 5.1 A facility at a post office whereby letters are kept until called for by the addressee.
      • ‘The Hope post office is staffed only 4 hours a day, but the lobby doors are unlocked around the clock so that residents can access their post-office boxes.’
      • ‘After Paige went in her room, Emily looked at the box and saw a letter with her name on it.’
      • ‘Also in the box were some letters for Chris which had come to me by mistake.’
      • ‘Customers will still have to wait for these boxes - possibly until mid-year, said Sun's chief marketing officer Anil Gadre.’
      • ‘The postman leaves the place mechanically dropping the letters into the boxes, which are collected by the residents leisurely, sometimes a day or two later.’
      • ‘Residents are being urged to help the fight against crime the next time they send a letter with the introduction of police crime boxes in post offices.’
      • ‘They scanned rows of boxes until they found what they were looking for.’
      • ‘Upon my return from Hobart, I was excited to have the Collingwood FC letter in the box.’
      • ‘She got a post-office box for her business to keep her home address private.’
      • ‘He said adding boxes by enlarging the post office building is not feasible because of the costs of renovating the structure.’
      • ‘The Company's mailing address was a postal box near Mr. Hermitt's home.’
      • ‘She tells him the name of a real ship and says his father is a sailor, even writing letters from this imaginary dad and sending them via a post-office box.’
      • ‘They spent all day sponging blood and ink from the floor, sorting letters into their boxes, sweeping.’
      • ‘Ayako rushed down the aisles of little boxes until she reached box 884.’
      • ‘This may mean renting a post-office box without the patient's knowledge.’
      • ‘I know this because Abel and Cole always send a little letter with their boxes which tells me where everything has come from and how the farmers are getting on.’
      • ‘So, the mailman too was an Arcadian, or at least paid off to do that and put the letter inside of the box.’
  • 6North American vulgar slang A woman's vagina.

verb

[with object]
  • 1often as adjective boxedPut in or provide with a box.

    ‘the books are sold as a boxed set’
    ‘Muriel boxed up all Christopher's clothes’
    • ‘So they've boxed up yeast, Band-aids, film and seeds to send into space.’
    • ‘Before you know it, the parties have ended, the gifts have all been opened, and the decorations boxed up and put away for next year.’
    • ‘They're so used to being commodified that they're anxious to be digitally miniaturized and boxed up in video games - it's no wonder they can't coalesce as a team.’
    • ‘They were boxed up by Homebase into three parcels.’
    • ‘Once they are butchered and boxed up for shipment, these whales will make their way to market where choice cuts will be sold as delicacies.’
    • ‘It was one of those memories you wish that could be boxed up with a nice red ribbon, bow and all, and give it to people as a present.’
    • ‘No longer will they have to wear rubber gloves to rummage through a bin liner, now it will be clean and dry and boxed up for them.’
    • ‘Some, with sheets of printed artwork, were still in packages of fives and 10s, used to ship them in bulk from the Far East before being boxed up and sold.’
    • ‘So the last of the snow has finally been boxed up and shipped off to the needy, and with it went my last excuses for not exercising.’
    • ‘Appalled, Karr had all the rushes boxed up again and shipped to Washington.’
    • ‘And they boxed up huge numbers of documents and simply shipped them off to Qatar without actually looking through them.’
    • ‘The only involvement they need is to see their belongings boxed up on their way out the door!’
    • ‘‘Okay, now you,’ she said as the woman boxed up her dress.’
    • ‘It's an enormous room, and it's completely covered in china that looks as if it should be boxed up and sent to the nearest car-boot sale.’
    • ‘We bought Chinese food for the first and last time from one of those walk-in joints with the pictures of the food above the register that never look like the grayish beige slop they boxed up for you.’
    • ‘Some of the boxes even have dates of 2001 and 2002 posted on the labels, which I hope doesn't mean the date they were boxed up and put into storage.’
    • ‘Because of their zany antics, the entire lot of them are boxed up and shipped off.’
    • ‘Yeah right, with all this new kitchen equipment still lying around boxed up I'm going to be willing to do that.’
    • ‘I have books (so many books) and since I had to move out of my previous home, many of them are still boxed up.’
    • ‘My mom, my sisters, and I boxed up photos, guns, and heirloom quilts.’
    package, pack, parcel, wrap, bundle, bale, crate
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Enclose (a piece of text) within printed lines.
      ‘boxed sections in magazines’
      • ‘The Walker A, Walker B, and ABC signatures are boxed.’
      • ‘These repeated words are boxed by a thin line in the alignment on the web page.’
      • ‘Conserved sequence motifs are in boldface type and boxed with a solid line.’
      • ‘It is visually appealing, with cartoons, bulleted checklists, and boxed exercises breaking up short chunks of text.’
      • ‘Procedures relating to topics within the chapter are boxed in and numbered so that the reader can quickly recognize them.’
      • ‘Cis-regulatory elements described in the text are boxed.’
    2. 1.2box someone in Restrict the ability of (a person or vehicle) to move freely.
      ‘a van had double-parked alongside her car and totally boxed her in’
      • ‘To the redundant question of asking to define his style Doucet replied that ‘a style boxes you in [a painfully true statement in today's music scene] and I'm a happy student of all things combined.’’
      • ‘There's something about singing the part of an angel, or singing soubrette roles in opera, that categorises you and boxes you in, and I don't enjoy that very much when it happens.’
      • ‘Fear is the dominant weapon the establishment uses, to isolate people, box them in and keep them quiet.’
      • ‘They tried to box her in, but she moved too quickly.’
      • ‘If someone is here just to recruit students of color, it kind of boxes them in.’
      • ‘There was nowhere to move but forward, and the walls boxed me in like I was freight to be taken away.’
      • ‘Mr Reed said the other man stayed in the car but two members of the public used their vehicles to box him in.’
      • ‘‘'Her trainer came out and had to help her get past them so she could get into her car,’ a source told the Daily News. ‘Then they boxed her in on all four sides.'’
      • ‘He has boxed us in to a situation where our only solution to our go-it-alone policy might well be forced conscription of our young people, and I'm against it.’
      • ‘The Ferrari then pulled in close in front of him, braking, while the Mercedes drew close behind, boxing him in.’
      • ‘Carter eventually stopped his vehicle in the slow lane after police boxed him in.’
      • ‘If Canadians don't start thinking outside the box for themselves, they will be boxed in permanently.’
      • ‘However, over two furlongs out it looked as though Pat Eddery had the four-year-old in trouble as he was boxed in behind early leader Zaajer, seemingly with nowhere to go.’
      • ‘Four years later, in Sydney, Ainslie returned the favor, boxing Scheidt in on the first upwind leg and then hanging on for the overall victory.’
      • ‘It almost made him claustrophobic, having cars on either side boxing him in, the only way out behind him or in front of him.’
      • ‘Never underestimate him, never try to box him in.’
      • ‘I tried to push my way out and run but I was boxed in by the others.’
      • ‘Apparently all the cars behind Mom and Dad were pulling out and passing our little caravan, thereby boxing Buddy in.’
      • ‘But the company's application to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister for six road closures has angered some residents who fear they will be boxed in.’
      • ‘‘I think people are always trying to box you in, and I always tell my students that there is no such thing as talent, that you can learn to do anything,’ he says.’
      hem in, fence in, close in, cage in, shut in, coop up, mew up
      View synonyms
  • 2box sheep upAustralian NZ Mix up different flocks.

Phrases

  • be a box of birds

    • informal Be fine or happy.

      • ‘By the next morning he was a box of birds and adjusting to using his hand with a chocolate-bar-sized bandage on his small fingers.’
      • ‘‘He has never done better, he is a box of birds today,’ Marsh said.’
      • ‘And by the time we went for a walk up to that waterfall that I posted pics of a bit further back I was feeling a box of birds and he was starting to drag his feet.’
      • ‘Apart from these ailments, I'm a box of birds most of the time.’
      • ‘According to many of the responses here I'm queer as a box of birds.’
  • box of tricks

    • informal An ingenious gadget.

      ‘all those magical effects were produced by this little box of tricks here’
      • ‘The internal combustion engine reveals it secrets easily, and lends itself to modification, whereas the mobile phone is a sealed box of tricks in a barely ‘customisable’ shell.’
      • ‘The Claymores, though, need to unlock their box of tricks, for a loss in the German capital would leave them with a 1-3 record.’
      • ‘The technology involves a small box of tricks in each customer's office or home which will process the packets of information down the phone line 40 times faster than at present.’
      • ‘We used to get a lot of inventors turn up at Northam with a box of tricks for us to look at.’
      • ‘There is no culture shock, simply a surrender to a seductively exotic world where Elsinore is a rectangular battlement with twisting staircases and a lacquer box of tricks that slowly opens to reveal its secrets.’
      • ‘The result is that you feel that you are watching a clever box of tricks: theatre almost entirely reduced to a few ingenious lighting effects.’
      • ‘It all smacks of pennypinching, a cheap box of tricks that may be no more effective than sticking a plaster on a severed artery.’
      • ‘It wasn't, as coaches are fond of saying, pretty, but it was certainly effective and the visitors did score three tries straight out of their favourite box of tricks.’
      • ‘But it is the children's box of tricks that seems most emblematic of her surprise resignation.’
      • ‘However, it's planning to use this box of tricks as a entertainment hub for the home including internet phone calls and video-on-demand.’
  • out of one's box

    • informal Intoxicated with alcohol or drugs.

      ‘I was out of my box on sulphate’
      • ‘Quite clearly the youth of France cannot come to their senses because they are out of their box on a tequila flavoured beer.’
  • out of the box

    • 1informal Used to refer to the immediate usability or functionality of a newly purchased product, typically an electronic device or a piece of software.

      ‘most laptops come with wireless capability out of the box’
      ‘console games need to be good to go right out of the box’
      ‘the product is designed as an out-of-the-box portal for the medium to large enterprise’
      • ‘You don't need to know anything technical about any of this because the user interface and the configuration is set up properly right out of the box.’
      • ‘Maybe the most important aspect of any game is having it run properly right out of the box.’
      • ‘My wife's laptop arrived in perfect shape, worked great right out of the box.’
      • ‘Out of the box, the Freedom 2.4 looks sharp indeed.’
      • ‘You are getting a "clean integration", no third party ads on your desktop out of the box, nothing extra on your hard drive eating up valuable space.’
      • ‘That why I think it's very promising that the PS3 has dual display support out of the box.’
      • ‘With any newly installed computer data backup system, don't assume everything works correctly right out of the box.’
      • ‘iPads have a hefty battery, and your new one likely has considerable charge out of the box.’
      • ‘It can be set up straight out of the box.’
      • ‘Windows 7 comes with important safeguards out of the box, but it isn't hard to make it even more secure.’
      1. 1.1US From the very beginning; immediately.
        ‘his family memoir was a ratings smash right out of the box’
        • ‘You may not have this hot list out of the box, but you can hone it over time.’
        • ‘We had to work pretty hard to gain some speed back that we had expected to have right out of the box.’
        • ‘I see too many publishers come in and expect to hit home runs the first time out of the box.’
        • ‘Today's high school quarterback comes better prepared to shine right out of the box.’
        • ‘In addition, they have start paying for themselves straight out of the box.’
        • ‘Buckman's approach - going global right out of the box - would probably strike many as overly risky.’
        • ‘It's hard to find other producers who've enjoyed such distinguished success right out of the box.’
        • ‘Distributors didn't think that every film had to gross $150 million out of the box.’
        • ‘To fault Mad About You for not being perfect out of the box (and it's the rare show that is) is unfair.’
        • ‘I think we had some good chemistry, you know, between the two of us right out of the box.’
    • 2informal Unusually good.

      ‘the novel is nothing out of the box’
      ‘I've studied plenty of sportspeople and he is one out of the box’
      • ‘This seriously intelligent interpretation is one out of the box.’
      • ‘The trouble with a result like this morning's, it was so out of the box that it will in fact affect the long term trend.’
      • ‘He is one out of the box in his behaviour at estimates!’
      • ‘Someone who thinks he is out of the box will be constantly scrabbling for support of that belief.’
      • ‘The morning was one out of the box, and I sucked in great lungfuls of mountain air.’
      • ‘Though his legacy is debatable, no-one can deny that he was one out of the box.’
  • think outside (or out of) the box

    • informal Think in an original or creative way.

      • ‘To bring in new members, we have to be willing to try innovative ideas and think outside the box.’
      • ‘Although dyslexic people have problems with reading, their brains are well suited for ideas and thinking outside the box.’
      • ‘He says he wants to encourage Vincentian youths to think outside the box and become pioneers.’
      • ‘Now, the fashion-savvy girl wants her clothes to be unplaceable rather than directional: she wants the credit for having the imagination to think outside the box.’
      • ‘As a pioneer used to thinking outside the box, Odent demonstrates familiarity with a formidable range of subjects, from ethnography to endocrinology.’
      • ‘Does the institution truly value candor, thinking outside the box and innovation, or merely give lip service to it?’
      • ‘Local authorities have been asked to think outside the box and bring forward imaginative and innovative projects.’
      • ‘Surely this is a time for a new ethos of leadership and people who think outside the box and foster creativity.’
      • ‘We wondered whether thinking outside the box really does enhance creativity.’
      • ‘A final thought… where would civilisation be now if it were not for the ‘intellectuals’; those individuals who thought outside the box, dared to challenge the norm?’

Origin

Late Old English, probably from late Latin buxis, from Latin pyxis ‘boxwood box’, from Greek puxos (see box).

Pronunciation

box

/bɒks/

Main definitions of box in English

: box1box2box3box4

box2

verb

[no object]
  • Fight an opponent using one's fists; compete in the sport of boxing.

    ‘he boxed for England’
    with object ‘he had to box Benn for the title’
    • ‘As a child, Arguello was a street fighter, and learned how to box from a family member in Managua.’
    • ‘He could punch or box, he had great stamina, fought the best the division had to offer and had one of the best chins in boxing history.’
    • ‘McCullough's career was put on hold for over a year when he was refused a license to box by the British Boxing Board of Control following a brain scan.’
    • ‘This man, who weighed 240 pounds and could box, had a good jab, a solid chin, and could punch.’
    • ‘They were on the table, and I wanted those fights before I boxed for the British title.’
    • ‘No fighting style remains a mystery to Hopkins inside the ring and he can box with you or brawl - it does not matter.’
    • ‘If you wanted to make a film on how to box, he would be the fighter you would want to film.’
    • ‘Ntontela who is known for his fierce fighting prowess chose to box instead of doing what he knows best.’
    • ‘How would he have done if he boxed as a cruiserweight?’
    • ‘He continued to box after losing to him, but he never fully recovered.’
    • ‘Why does this boy never have a chance to box overseas and fight real boxers and make real money?’
    • ‘He was boxing against an opponent who had never been beaten in 45 contests and one of the hottest young boxers in Ireland.’
    • ‘Again, recuperative powers allowed him to box cleanly and win the round.’
    • ‘But when I first started to box, it had nothing to do with money or anything.’
    • ‘When a shot is in the air, he looks immediately for an opponent to box away from the goal.’
    • ‘You risk all sorts of things, even without boxing competitively.’
    • ‘Mnguni admitted their fight plan was to box outside and keep Jacobs at the end of his punches while effectively using the perimeter of the ring.’
    • ‘Another thing they shared was the ability to box effectively while still carrying knockout power in either fist.’
    • ‘Tall, rangy, smart, powerful southpaws who can box might be Roy's kryptonite.’
    • ‘You have been boxing as a pro since 1992; how much longer do you think you can stay at the top?’
    fight, prizefight, spar
    View synonyms

noun

  • A slap with the hand on the side of a person's head.

    ‘she gave him a box on the ear’
    cuff, hit, thump, slap, smack, crack, swat, punch, fist, jab, hook, knock, thwack, bang, wallop
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • box clever

    • informal Act so as to outwit someone.

      ‘she had to box clever, let Adam think she had accepted what he said’
      • ‘And they seemed to help the two box clever, as George outpointed his opponent while Reg stopped his rival in the first round.’
      • ‘The opposition parties have failed to capitalise on the government's disarray and Mr Ahern has boxed clever.’
      • ‘Operating strictly to Queensbury rules, they boxed clever, and their punishing alliance ended only with an error of judgement with Kay just five short of a successive three-figure profit.’
      • ‘The cut re-opened but did not seem to be worrying the IBF champion who began to box clever, picking the moment for his assaults rather dashing in every second or two as normal.’
      • ‘After all Holmes has been boxing clever for years.’
      • ‘Not quite running scared, but definitely boxing clever, Dods admits there were celebrations in the Inverness dressing room when the draw for this weekend's round of the Scottish Cup was made.’
      • ‘Fencers are boxing clever in bid to make a point over funding’
      • ‘I will not have two Mensa candidate sons end up illiterate and on the scrap heap with no education, no self respect, no hopes and no social skills because someone, possibly just one person, wants to box clever with the cash books.’
      • ‘I realise I haven't done much to boost your pensionable income lately, but you have always boxed clever financially and will have provided well for your own future.’
      • ‘‘There is no doubt they will box clever,’ he said.’
  • box someone's ears

    • Slap someone on the side of the head, especially as a punishment.

      ‘stop hanging back or I'll box your ears’
      • ‘But Mr X took serious umbrage at my tinkling laughter - and wanted to box my ears!’
      • ‘Guess it's better than being called any of these names, but if he does it again tomorrow morning, I may reach through the camera and box his ears.’
      • ‘The Doctors fear Georgie shall be our only son, but do not say that to Anne, lest she box your ears.’
      • ‘When I once rushed in and called her by her Christian name she boxed my ears.’
      • ‘If I weren't a pacifist, I would have boxed his ears.’
      • ‘‘He put a red-hot boiled potato down my back,’ explained Bill, ‘and then mashed it with his foot; and I boxed his ears.’’
      • ‘And if you call me peach one more time, I'm gonna box your ears.’
      • ‘But speaking as someone who has his intelligence insulted on a weekly basis by modern movies, there's something thrilling about a picture that boxes your ears and forces you to sit up and pay attention.’
      • ‘I could have boxed his ears and found some ways of permanently keeping him away from me.’
      • ‘Then he muttered about how Cor would have boxed his ears or cuffed him upside the back of the head while telling him ‘I told you pride would bite you in the butt one day.’’
      cuff, strike, hit, thump, slap, smack, crack, swat, punch, jab, knock, thwack, bang, wallop, batter, pummel, buffet
      View synonyms

Origin

Late Middle English (in the general sense ‘a blow’): of unknown origin.

Pronunciation

box

/bɒks/

Main definitions of box in English

: box1box2box3box4

box3

noun

  • 1A slow-growing European evergreen shrub or small tree with small glossy dark green leaves. It is widely used in hedging and for topiary, and yields hard, heavy timber.

    Buxus sempervirens, family Buxaceae

    • ‘Little did I expect that a, slightly worse for wear, sprig of green taken from the boxes would become a priceless Christmas moment.’
    • ‘Pushing aside an interfering boxwood plant, she emerged into a small clearing.’
    • ‘We'd go over at twilight, when the big white house had a patina like the inside of a shell, and chase fireflies among the cypress trees and boxwood hedges.’
    • ‘The Kadzik garden has two personalities, divided by the brick path and flanking boxwood hedges.’
    • ‘In other European countries such as Britain, the Netherlands, and Denmark, models were built primarily of boxwood and other fine-gained woods that could be bent and carved.’
    • ‘Do you have boxwood hedges and well - pruned roses?’
    • ‘Wagner's ingeniousness with plot is matched by his cleverness with the recherché literary conceits - little touches that you can't help admiring, like statues in a boxwood maze, even as you hurry past.’
    • ‘To the front of the house, there is a formal garden enclosed by boxwood hedging while beyond there is a woodland garden and a paddock bisected by the Corrie Burn.’
    • ‘The terrain is mostly desert, and home to drought resistant plants such as myrtle, boxwood, and wild olive.’
    • ‘He intended it to be filled with roses and placed within a parterre of small flowers in radial beds edged by dwarf boxwood.’
    • ‘The Chicago Botanic Garden, a living museum, links the city and its suburbs to the world of nature in all its aspects, from the informal tall grass prairies to the prim formality of boxwood at the English Walled Garden.’
    • ‘Our land is very flat, so I deliberately divided it up with hemlock, boxwood, and yew hedges.’
    • ‘Bury the clippings several feet underground, away from your boxwood plants.’
    • ‘The project has included the replanting of the formal garden in front of the house using boxwood, roses, catmint, lavender and clematis.’
    • ‘Western gardeners can still have evergreen hollies, but the evergreen choices in eastern gardens are limited to spruces and Leucothes, or boxwood and Acuba in warm-region gardens.’
    • ‘Then he filled in with small-leafed plants such as boxwood, eugenia, and Kurume azaleas.’
    • ‘Do not let your fragrant boxwood be cut into wood for the woodworker.’
    • ‘As with the boxwood, check out the mature height of any azaleas before planting.’
    • ‘Like boxwood, this species of Alberta spruce is extremely slow growing, reaching a height of only 7 feet in 35 years!’
    • ‘The hues, one to a box, ranged widely, including signal red, cadmium blue and yellow ocher.’
    • ‘The boxwood is tall enough to provide a feeling of shelter while you're sitting down, yet low enough so that you can enjoy glimpses of the beautiful bonsai beyond the hedge.’
    • ‘Before I reach it, I hide the bag under a boxwood hedge.’
    • ‘In an existing courtyard, the Goodmans removed an old boxwood hedge that cramped the area, tore out the lawn, and added a multilevel flagstone patio and fountain.’
    • ‘And then there's boxwood, an evergreen that has a unique, sweet scent year-round.’
    • ‘A standard clipped box tree in a plain terracotta pot shows restrained good taste.’
    • ‘Now instead of the dappled shade of an old oak outside their front door, the Beagles have a weathered brick patio on which 24 neatly trimmed boxwood globes seem to swirl in a beautifully choreographed shrubbery ballet.’
    • ‘And then as Waddley approached him, Padlin turned and raised the heavy boxwood above his head.’
    • ‘The six tapestries she planted come alive with interwoven threads of color and texture from golden boxleaf honeysuckle, lavender, hebe, leatherleaf sedge, and Bowles' golden sedge bordered by dwarf boxwood.’
    1. 1.1 The hard, heavy wood of the box tree, formerly used for engraving and for musical instruments.
      • ‘The most common was boxwood with brass trim.’
      • ‘Once in a while the really dense woods, such as boxwood and ebony can fool me, and I really have to work hard to tell the difference between Madasgar and Honduras rosewood.’
      • ‘Because boxwood is so dense and the logs so irregular, the logs were likely handsawn with a thin blade and were probably not sawn in the up-and-down sawmill, which would create a lot of waste of this expensive wood.’
      • ‘There are 34 full-color photographs of beautiful gages made of ebony, rosewood, boxwood, mahogany, cherry, applewood, whalebone, ivory etc.’
      • ‘He once confessed to owning the prized possessions of a superb board of bird's-eye maple and Moluccan ebony, edged in sycamore, an 1871 boxwood and ebony Staunton set, plus a chess clock by Grant's of Stamford.’
      • ‘The models were built with consummate skill, and created a fabulous confection of boxwood, brass, bone, ebony, gold leaf and painted details in the typical naval colours of Prussian blue and Venetian red.’
      • ‘The Stanley Company began making rules in 1850, when Augustus Stanley founded A. Stanley & Co. to manufacture boxwood and ivory rules.’
      • ‘Rosewood rather than boxwood was used for the single boxing, and the iron was produced by the Humphreysville Manufacturing Company.’
      • ‘Netsuke were fashioned from exquisitely carved ivory, horn, amber, or boxwood and sometimes embellished with gold or silver.’
      • ‘The hardwoods he mentions-box, cocoa - are probably short for boxwood and cocobolo.’
      • ‘This choice of materials allows us to also enjoy these measuring instruments as visual objects as well - artifacts beautifully made of fine materials such as boxwood, brass, ivory, and German silver.’
      • ‘The mechanism is almost entirely made of wood, with the movement, frame and wheels in oak, the pendulum in mahogany, and the spindles and pinions in boxwood.’
      • ‘Well, some of them have sulphur as their base compound, they're known as thials and they give smells as various as boxwood or a cat's aroma, right through to passionfruit, grapefruit and the like.’
      • ‘It is unlikely that he would have had room for boxwood from South America, even as ballast, but he might well have bought walrus ivory to sell to rulemakers.’
      • ‘The shaft is made of charcoal anodised aluminium, inlaid with indigenous dark kershout (candle wood) and light boxwood.’
      • ‘The cross piece should be pearwood or boxwood for strong external threading, but again white oak is acceptable.’
      • ‘I've bumped into buckets of boxwood, magnolia and holly conditioning in water in the cool pantry before she packed them into an enormous welcoming wreath on the front door.’
      • ‘Famous in his lifetime and ever since, Bewick was a great miniaturist, and his ability to conjure acutely observed images of his native county out of blocks of boxwood can seem almost miraculous.’
      • ‘There was an Italian grapevine roof, a French parterre of boxwood, lobelia, and shiny black coal, and oak columns recently dredged from Boston Harbor garlanded with a ship's hawser and clematis.’
      • ‘Equally intriguing is Shichifukujin, a netsuke of a peach carved out of boxwood that opens to reveal the stone inside.’
  • 2Any of a number of trees that have wood or foliage similar to the box tree.

    several Australian eucalyptus trees (genus Eucalyptus, family Myrtaceae).

    the tropical American Venezuelan or West Indian box (Casearia praecox, family Flacourtiaceae), the timber of which has now largely replaced that of the European box.

    • ‘Miles of walking trails and roads on the Arboretum's 446 acres feature native eastern deciduous trees and exceptional collections of bonsai, boxwood, and other plants and herbs.’
    • ‘She made her way through the woods, ‘past a giant temple of boxwood,’ then to the yard of 124 where ‘she sat down on the first handy place - a stump’.’
    • ‘The holly's convex, glossy leaves contrast nicely with the Korean boxwood's flat, oval, lighter green leaves.’
    • ‘Battery units are useful for touch-up pruning on fine-textured shrubs like boxwood, but they lack sufficient power for extended jobs.’
    • ‘The formal approach is met by a checkerboard garden of green boxwood and gray artemisia.’

Origin

Old English, via Latin from Greek puxos.

Pronunciation

box

/bɒks/

Main definitions of box in English

: box1box2box3box4

box4

verb

Nautical
  • 1Recite the compass points in correct order.

    • ‘When doing the ‘Island Looking’ exercise, an advanced student includes these ‘aimers’ among the locations to be named in boxing the compass from a given island.’
    • ‘Reciting this list is known as boxing the compass.’
    • ‘The men say they could box the compass in Manx before they could box in English.’
    • ‘Hence a wind is said to box the compass when it blows from every quarter in rapid succession.’
    • ‘Deep Seeker reported that the wind boxed the compass from every direction except north.’
    • ‘They boxed the compass between a first and a third glass of wine.’
    • ‘I've ‘boxed the compass’ over 14 miles of broken mountains with 'em and come out within 100 meters from start-point.’
    • ‘Captain Hess boxed the compass and Mat Upper wound it.’
  • 2Make a complete change of direction.

    ‘by now the breeze had boxed the compass’
    • ‘At nine Captain Blethen appeared, smoking a cigar with nonchalance, and told us that the hurricane had nearly boxed the compass, and had been the most severe he had known for seventeen years.’
    • ‘We'll be crossing the well-known summit level which boxes the compass with a series of crazy twists and turns as it struggles to keep to its contour around the hills.’
    • ‘On through Crick tunnel and then mile after mile of seemingly uninhabited country as we boxed the compass on the summit section towards Welford.’
    • ‘My horse, Lightfoot, has boxed the compass, and it seems to me he has boxed it back again.’
    • ‘However, in 1989 a series of storm-force winds boxed the compass and it was these that uprooted many trees on Dartmoor.’
    • ‘In general, the show boxed the compass under the four strong winds of realism, expressionism, surrealism and abstractionism.’
    • ‘It winds, bends, turns, and often boxes the compass on its 650-mile journey to the Ohio River at Paducah, Kentucky.’
    • ‘On the 18th, in three hours time, we boxed the compass, and after running a little while E.S.E., we went half round it again in a bay of more than two leagues, which can be cut across at high water.’
    • ‘Having boxed the compass in reverse, like two parallel magnets in a swinging ship, they again faced the nightlighted hill.’

Origin

Mid 18th century: perhaps from Spanish bojar ‘sail round’, from Middle Low German bōgen ‘bend’, from the base of bow.

Pronunciation

box

/bɒks/