One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A device for lifting heavy objects, especially one for raising the axle of a motor vehicle off the ground so that a wheel can be changed or the underside inspected.
- ‘A spaceship was lying on 4 jacks in the middle of the shed, patches of the hull and fried wiring lying around.’
- ‘Finally, lower the jack so the wheel is back down on the road.’
- ‘Make sure you're using the jacks in the appropriate jacking points; otherwise, you could literally destroy a wing or cause other major damage to the plane.’
- ‘I tried calling some shops and was told by some that a 1.5-or 2-ton jack would be enough, since the jack won't be lifting the whole truck.’
- ‘Naturally, when I was safe on the ground with the airplane on jacks in a warm shop, the wheels cycled up and down without difficulty.’
- ‘The object of this invention is to provide a light, simple and convenient jack by which to raise the wheels of automobiles, when not in use, so as to relieve the tires from the pressure due to the weight of the machine.’
- ‘With the suspension set to high, the jack needs only to lift the car fractionally to allow the wheel to be swapped.’
- ‘Once the jack release button is turned it takes about five seconds for the vertical ram to drop sufficiently so that it can be moved horizontally along the jack.’
- ‘While most cars are spinning practice laps at Daytona International Speedway, Jeff Gordon's No.24 Chevy sits on jacks in its garage stall.’
- ‘With a jack, a couple of dollies, a tow bar, and a tractor, the jet was moved after 45 minutes.’
- ‘Make sure you have a jack that will lift the trailer (with horses inside) or a wheel block to pull one trailer tire onto to get the other one off the ground.’
- ‘In the unfortunate event of a flat tire, having a jack and a spare tire can lead to a simple tire replacement.’
- ‘The airjack failed on the car, so he had to pit twice for tires, as the crew used manual jacks.’
- ‘The 45-pound hydraulic jack is used by this crew member to first lift the right side of the car for the tires to be changed before dropping it down to repeat the process on the left side of the car.’
- ‘The third roller is joined to an anvil divided into three sections, each having a hydraulic jack that activates the opening to eliminate stones that are too large.’
- ‘The operation involved the firefighters having to support the weight of the lorry with air bags and jacks and chopping back trees before cutting away parts of the car to free the casualty.’
- ‘With hangar space at a premium, flight-deck control was not going to let a huge Hummer sit on jacks in the middle of the hangar bay for two weeks.’
- ‘His much-abused Firebird is up on jacks in the driveway a couple feet away, and a pair of legs - Georges's - protrude from underneath.’
- ‘Hans finished putting on the tire and returned the jack and tire iron to the trunk.’
- ‘Using a hydraulic jack and a grip hoist, it took them an hour to lift the boulder.’
2A playing card bearing a representation of a soldier, page, or knave, normally ranking next below a queen.
- ‘Notice also that it is not legal for East to put the jacks in the front hand, because it would then not be possible to make a middle hand that was better and a back hand that was better still from the remaining ten cards.’
- ‘If the turn-up is a Jack, dealer scores one white chip at once; if the turn-up is the Joker, dealer scores one blue chip at once and the cards are immediately thrown in.’
- ‘Police in Xinyang, a city in Henan province, have produced a half million packs of cards with the pictures of ‘notorious suspects’ on aces, kings, queens and jacks in an effort to capture the criminals.’
- ‘If the player cannot match any cards and does not have a Jack or Joker in their hand (or chooses not to use them) then they must draw from stock pile.’
- ‘The pile (anywhere from one card to a large number) may be taken by matching the value of the last card played or with a Jack, but it is not a foxtrot unless there is only one card in the pile when it is matched.’
3A socket with two or more pairs of terminals designed to receive a jack plug.
- ‘The technician will reconfigure existing lines and telephone jacks, install additional jacks if required, and provide limited assistance with service set-up.’
- ‘My great plans for itinerency and lots of writing didn't take into account a lack of phone jacks in the places I've been staying.’
- ‘‘You could put the cable modem where there's a TV jack and not have to actually add a jack where the PC is,’ he says.’
- ‘The computer had been in a box in the bedroom, and Amy had found the DSL jack in the kitchen near the table.’
- ‘An earphone jack includes an insulative housing and conductive first, second and third contact members.’
- ‘The crowd instantly recognised Idioteque from the first few jittering beats and the sound of Greenwood randomly shoving jacks in and out of his analogue sequencer like a frantic telephone exchange operator.’
- ‘They weigh 14 ounces and are powered by four AA batteries, with input capabilities for a radio or scanner, and an output jack for receiving or recording.’
- ‘Also, it's useful to remember that in the case of DSL, your broadband connection is available at every phone jack in your house.’
- ‘You can have landline and cell service from all the phone jacks in your home’
- ‘Bring all cables from various jacks into the junction box and connect the wires under the appropriately colored terminals.’
- ‘The right side is home to an earphone jack, power socket and, under a cover, a USB 2.0 port.’
- ‘‘Many of the older accommodation blocks have shared ablutions, shared laundries, limited or no storage, limited car parking, no telephone or TV jacks in individual rooms and are in urgent need of general maintenance,’ he said.’
- ‘And while almost all of the others have recording facilities, this is the only one with a microphone jack in addition to the built-in mic.’
- ‘In operation, this echo plug receives a signal from the speaker connection of a hands-free jack in a first wireless telephone and transfers the signal to the microphone connection of a hands-free jack in a second wireless telephone.’
- ‘Such a line-out jack requires you to buy expensive $50 fibre optic cables with two differently shaped ends, or an adaptor plug that will connect to common speaker wires.’
- ‘Not at all, I'm saying you need to have a line plugged into where it says line on your modem to the phone jack in the wall.’
- ‘Me: ‘Well, is the cable pugged into the back of the computer and into the data jack in the wall?’’
- ‘The wireless connection also avoids the inconvenience of interrupting an ultrasound examination to plug the ultrasound system into the network jack.’
- ‘The audio is fed from the earphone jack into an auxiliary input on the vehicle's CD player, where it is amplified to on board PA speakers.’
- ‘Sir, it is impossible to plug an Ethernet card into the phone jack in your wall.’
4In lawn bowling, the small ball at which the players aim.
- ‘Two teams get four balls each and aim to get them nearest the white ball or the jack.’
- ‘The only way to develop the skill of accurately estimating the distance from the bowl to the jack is to practise doing it and keep on until you gain consistency to within a few centimetres.’
- ‘By rolling the jack and concentrating on the feel of it, you will find the real pace of the green and have a better chance of putting the first bowl close to the jack.’
- ‘Lawn bowling required four bowls for each player and a jack for a goal.’
- ‘Having gone into the last end at 13-13, Maureen Walker's last bowl trailed the jack for three shots.’
5jacksA game played by tossing and catching small round pebbles or star-shaped pieces of metal or plastic.
- ‘The product that animates Harris's work life is Crazy Bones - packs of small, brightly hued plastic figurines that are used to play a variety of games similar to jacks or marbles or dice.’
- ‘In Korea, young girls play a game of jacks, tossing small stones onto the ground, throwing a ball up in the air, and and trying to pick the stones up before catching the ball.’
- ‘Tharp compares the work to a game of jacks, one in which you pick up an increasing number of pieces with one hand while bouncing a ball in the other.’
- 5.1 A small round pebble or star-shaped piece of metal used in the game of jacks.
6US informal Used as a form of address to a man whose name is not known.
7North American informal A lumberjack.
8archaic A steeplejack.
9The figure of a man striking the bell on a clock.
10A small version of a national flag flown at the bow of a vessel in harbor to indicate its nationality.
- ‘At daylight we hoisted the jack for a pilot and a Delaware pilot came off, Boat C, but couldn't take us to New York.’
- ‘At daybreak they attempted to rouse attention on land; they hoisted the jack for a pilot and at 7 a.m. sent up signals of distress and fired a gun.’
11North American dated, informal Money.
12A device for turning a spit.
- ‘When running a spit from a weight driven clockwork jack, it is essential to ensure that the joint or bird is properly centred, or the spit may stop running.’
13A part of the mechanism in a spinet or harpsichord that connects a key to its corresponding string and causes the string to be plucked when the key is pressed down.
- ‘The harpsichord's jack-and-plectrum action plucks the strings instead of striking them, creating a sharp, bright tone and a "snappy" keyboard feel.’
- ‘The jack sits just under the bottom row on the keyboard, and in a pretty visible location.’
- ‘Volume can be increased only by engaging more sets of strings and jacks.’
14A marine fish that is typically laterally compressed with a row of large spiky scales along each side. Jacks are important in many places as food or game fish.
Family Carangidae (the jack family): many genera and numerous species. The jack family also includes the horse mackerel, pilotfish, kingfishes, and trevallies
- ‘On any dive one can easily spot angel fish, manta rays, hammerhead sharks, jacks and trevailles, barracudas… Finding Nemo would be impossible if he got lost here.’
- ‘Even the fish appeared to be experiencing difficulties swimming against the current; and the site was abuzz in action, as jacks, snappers and groupers busily swarmed about.’
- ‘Located at the southern tip of Pulau Pinang, this area swamps with currents, and hence presents a good chance to observe sharks, barracudas, jacks and schools of yellowtail.’
- ‘On four dives there we would see a hawksbill turtle, huge parrotfish, various morays ranging from massive to tiny, jack, snapper, batfish and numerous other species.’
- ‘True to the sketch, the site featured big gorgonian-filled overhangs and, inside them and extending out into the channel, great ribbons of jack, trevallies and snappers.’
15The male of some animals, especially a merlin or an ass.
- ‘The young female kestrel may have paired off with a young male. We spotted them chasing off a Jack Merlin.’
- ‘A mule results from a cross between a female horse, or mare, and a male donkey, or jack.’
16Used in names of animals that are smaller than similar kinds, e.g., jacksnipe.
- ‘In the spring male Jack Snipes court females in an unusual way. The male will fly several hundred feet in the air and perform a dive. While in the air he will also create a humming noise by fanning his tail.’
- ‘The Jack Snipe is an extremely difficult bird to see, partly because they are not very common but mostly because they are so well-camouflaged they will often sit unnoticed and let you walk past them.’
17US informalshort for jack shit
- ‘We all know that neither candidate will do jack squat anyway.’
- ‘I don't know jack about XML, so use small, simple words in any instructions you give me.’
- ‘I don't know jack about university finances, of course, but I have yet to hear of any school going broke over unionizing.’
- ‘Civics isn't even taught anymore and nobody knows jack about history.’
18short for jackrabbit
- ‘Suddenly, a Jack, another type of fighter, got behind.’
- ‘There may or may not have been a Jack rummaging around in it.’
- ‘She was only 15, so she was not having an affair with a Jack.’
before one can say Jack Robinson
informal Very quickly or suddenly.
- ‘The canoe slides into the water in the blink of an eye and before you can say Jack Robinson it's twenty yards off shore.’
- ‘Yet, with a ton of people assigned to wait on customers - eight clerks were politely servicing people - I had my onion bagel with vegetable tofu spread and a juice before one could say Jack Robinson.’
- ‘Foot to the floor and before you can say Jack Robinson you've crossed the finish line having attained a speed in excess of 300mph in a quarter mile!’
- ‘Fin has promised to invest the dough so that the boys will become millionaires "before you can say Jack Robinson".’
- ‘A friend of mine in Brixton kept koi carp in a raised toilet and this heron came straight in and ate the fish before you could say Jack Robinson.’
every man jack
informal Each and every person (used for emphasis)‘they're spies, every man jack of them’
- ‘If the ‘huntsmen’ were to tell me that hunting was just darned good fun, I'd pat every man jack of them on the back.’
- ‘As we went up the climb, we passed every man jack of 'em, all of them straining heroically.’
- ‘We moved slow enough so that every man jack had time to halt what he were doing and congregate where they knew we'd end up, just outside the man McRae's tent.’
- ‘In the second half at Bolton in particular, every man jack in that Rovers team gave every ounce of effort to preserve that lead in the face of a continual aerial bombardment.’
- ‘I'm going after Maggie and I want every man jack here to get his rifle and ride with me.’
- ‘Those who had short-changed or betrayed him were no longer on the scene in Europe or America - every man jack of them had passed on, he was pleased to note.’
- ‘Jeans and trainers may vary, but every man jack of them will be wearing a checked Burberry cap and a Stone Island jumper, usually in a fetching shade of beige.’
jack of all trades (and master of none)
A person who can do many different types of work but who is not necessarily very competent at any of them.
- ‘Of course I had prepared for this interview but you know what they say about journalists - jack of all trades and master of none.’
- ‘I've been a bit of jack of all trades, just trying to help where I can.’
- ‘When you work as a consultant you are very much a jack of all trades and master of none.’
- ‘Maybe I'm a jack of all trades and master of none but, if a new and relevant challenge came along, I'd probably leap at it.’
- ‘Competitors will have to be a sort of jack of all trades when it comes to entertainment as they will be expected to perform all types of acts as diverse as from singing a song to changing nappies.’
- ‘Mick s job is effectively as a jack of all trades as he co-ordinates kit, is responsible for first aid, gives light massages and, one of the most important roles he plays, looks after food for up to 170 cyclists that take part.’
- ‘We are always conscious of the fact that a company that sells itself to several different industry sectors, can be seen as a jack of all trades and a master of none.’
- ‘You are trying so many different things that you have become a jack of all trades and a master of none.’
- ‘I'm a jack of all trades and a master of none, which is probably not bad training for a chief executive.’
- ‘He's very, very powerful, a jack of all trades, that Clive. I can't wait for everybody to figure out how versatile he is.’
jack someone around
Cause someone inconvenience or problems, especially by acting unfairly or indecisively.
- ‘Every time I place a cache he jacks me around for a couple of weeks.’
- ‘Do not let them jack you around for the ‘new’ replacement at $3k.’
- ‘They didn't try to jack us around on the financing either.’
- ‘They will jack you around, make wild promises and then when it's too late you stand to lose your home.’
- ‘Even though I pay around $1000 a year for full coverage insurance, I know they won't jack me around like the others will.’
- ‘The shop was going to jack me around on the time to put the engine back in.’
- ‘If you don't want to talk ok, but don't jack me around like some player cause chances I just won't take you seriously.’
- ‘So I guess he wants to jack me around for 6 months and then expect me to pay another $1800?’
- ‘You have to tell them you are fishing with Capt. Jim to get these rates and sometimes they try to jack you around on the rates.’
- ‘You can print up a simple rate card just to have something established so an agency or anyone else cannot jack you around by going to a rock bottom rate request.’
jack in (or into)
Log into or connect up (a computer or electronic device).
- ‘If your business frequently has visiting executives who need to jack into your network or to get online, it may make sense to have a wireless node, which will enable them to use their own laptop to connect wirelessly.’
- ‘She was able to jack into the computer's mind and learn what it knew.’
- ‘Bandwidth is often seen as a public resource, and people who would blanch at the thought of breaking into a computer room wouldn't think twice about jacking into wireless networks.’
- ‘There, after I've sorted and arranged various ingredients, I jack in for twenty minutes and plant some useful subroutines in the city utilities grid.’
- ‘However, as of yet, mobility has not been long lasting without jacking into a power source after a couple of hours.’
- ‘Mercano's lone earthbound friend is a boy that he meets online and, before long, thanks to an evil corporation's theft of his planet's technology, 98% of our planet is jacked into an interactive digitized shopping mall.’
- ‘Another character, Dixie Flatline, who had Case's EEG flattened while he was jacked in, now maintains his identity solely within the computer network - a form of cyber-resurrection.’
- ‘The wireless service, which offers connection speeds up to 54 MBPS over a Cisco Systems Wi-Fi network, is free to all tenants, while jacking into the 100 MBPS wired network costs just $250 per month.’
- ‘We shudder to think what mayhem an irritated and superior alien race might visit upon innocent, gui-dependent Windows lusers jacked in to an intrusive Web-based spy network.’
- ‘Given that Neo had spent his entire life inside The Matrix - more accurately, inside a pod of goo while jacked into a massive computer - how could his ear be pierced?’
1Inject oneself with an illegal drug.
- ‘And how else are you going stop a 350 pound guy, all jacked up on drugs?’
- ‘In the brief moment which followed Lincoln's veins swelled up with a delicious nectar as if she were a hard up junkie just jacked up with a long sought after injection of her favorite narcotic.’
- ‘Eric was just tired and still a little jacked up on drugs, then they did some therapy and he got even more tired.’
- ‘The song gives you the feeling of being a race car driver jacked up on amphetamines.’
- ‘He was still pretty much jacked up on drugs, and the rest of the team had practically left.’
2Give up or refuse to participate in something.
- ‘And it's the same with ADHD, there's a continuum of this behaviour and it gets to a point where either the parents, the teachers jack up or doctors say here's the behaviour beyond which we would say this is a disease.’
jack something up
1Raise something, especially a vehicle, with a jack.
raise, hoist, lift, lift up, raise aloft, haul up, winch up, lever up, heave up, hike up, hitch up, pull up, take up, upraise, uplift, elevateView synonyms
- ‘The front wheel was still chained to the lamp post, as all the villains had done was jack the car up and put on the spare wheel and drive away!’
- ‘The car is jacked up, and the spring locations are checked to ensure they haven't been changed since the first inspection.’
- ‘The plaintiff, a 14-year-old boy, and a friend decided to repair the boat, and jacked it up with a car jack.’
- ‘He goes to Mark's side of the car and asks him to step out of the vehicle so he can jack it up.’
- ‘If the cars could take some of the weight off, couldn't we jack it up enough to take the strain off the landing gear?’
- ‘The officer then got the jack from the boot of the vehicle, jacked it up and released Phillips.’
- ‘Within ten minutes the driver of the first car that passed by jacked it up and took a tire.’
- ‘All the felons had done was to jack the car up and change the wheel.’
- ‘The nose gear struts there they can jack it up, put it on a tug and they'll move that airplane off the runway pretty quickly and examine it.’
- ‘Next time you take your car to a Greek or Italian mechanic and he uses the Force to jack your car up instead of the hoist, be very afraid.’
- 1.1informal Increase something by a considerable amount.‘France jacked up its key bank interest rate’
increase, raise, put up, push up, up, mark up, make higher, boost, step up, lift, augment, inflate, escalateView synonyms
- ‘It's a little disconcerting hearing the wide-eyed troubadour so distraught, but if it's any consolation, the emotional intensity of his folksy confessionals and heartfelt power-pop nuggets have been jacked up considerably.’
- ‘He pushed through a major £6 million cost-cutting exercise, slashing 150 jobs while jacking his own salary up by 33 percent to £155,000 a year.’
- ‘Scott told me later he jacked the volume up as much as possible.’
- ‘Once the shakeout of the industry has been completed, and air travel has fallen under the control of a handful of giant monopolies, ticket prices will be jacked up to unprecedented levels.’
- ‘Of course, the hoteliers jacked their prices up to the roof and did catch a fair number of those believing the annual myth propounded by the would-be profiteers.’
- ‘An inversion jacks the heat way up and drives the humidity down - two ingredients that could make a fire's behavior very dangerous.’
- ‘Virtually all restrictions on fruit machines will be removed and the amounts to be won will be jacked up to £1 million.’
- ‘And I think they have enough new products to at least hold on to domestic market share without needing to jack them up any further.’
- ‘They once again jack the guitar distortion up so high it makes my eyeballs tremble, though instead of a glorious AC / DC Marshall crunch, it's this shrill, low-rent tinfoil dirt-pedal squeal.’
- ‘Plus, Cambodia is notoriously corrupt and has a poor infrastructure, which jacks costs up even further.’
2Arrange or organize something.‘they did a national service in jacking this racing up’
- ‘Herb had jacked up a whole cinema for a fairly-near-to-opening screening of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, so we went along for a look-see…’
- ‘I will PM you with my details and maybe we could jack something up.’
- ‘Perhaps we could jack something up with the projector - just low key for those that want to talk about something.’
- ‘Trish had a previous engagement jacked up and couldn't come, anyway Pam, Peter, Tanya, Bronny and himself all fronted up and had a fantastic evening.’
- ‘Fingers crossed he can jack up a video projector, or at the very least a big-screen tv for it.’
Late Middle English: from Jack, pet form of the given name John. The term was used originally to denote an ordinary man ( jack (sense 6)), also a youth (mid 16th century), hence the ‘knave’ in cards and ‘male animal’. The word also denoted various devices saving human labor, as though one had a helper ( jack (sense 1, jack sense 3, jack sense 9, jack sense 10), and in compounds such as jackhammer and jackknife); the general sense ‘laborer’ arose in the early 18th century and survives in cheapjack, lumberjack, steeplejack, etc. Since the mid 16th century a notion of ‘smallness’ has arisen, hence jack (sense 4, jack sense 5, jack sense 7, jack sense 13).
1another term for blackjack (sense 5)
2A sleeveless padded tunic worn by foot soldiers.
verb[with object]North American
1Take (something) illicitly; steal.‘his MO in the studio remains the same—jack other people's tracks and present them in a new context’
- ‘They make the Evening News: they filmed a local gemstone store robbery in progress, a crime in which $10 million in jewels was jacked.’
- ‘De Niro's performance communicates his longing for normalcy so well that the movie doesn't need Bassett as the moral balance who tells him to quit jacking diamonds.’
- ‘I hope you don't think I'm jacking ideas from your life or anything.’
- ‘I was far from my normal spot next to the window, but didn't partially mind the getaway from Marie who always tried to jack my seat.’
- 1.1 Rob (someone)‘they jacked him for his car’
- ‘I mean you just jacked someone else's car. You cheat, steal, and bend the rules to your liking whenever you want.’
- ‘Soon they're swigging beer, blowing joints, ripping off drug-dealers and trying to sell a gun they jacked from a local gang.’
- ‘I hid it inside my sweatshirt so if someone tried to jack me.’
1990s: from hijack.
predicative Tired of or bored with someone or something.‘people are getting jack of strikes’
- ‘I got jack of the security scans this week, removed the "fully featured" package from my laptop, and installed just a bare bones anti-virus setup.’
- ‘You know it's getting bad when the NY Times' epitome of patience is getting jack tired of France.’
- ‘Eighty years of detective experience have been lost over this—we've been biting our tongues for months but we're just jack of it.’
- ‘I look forward to talking to you in about three weeks to see at what point I got jack of this and decided that was the only way to handle it.’
- ‘Over the years, your mates get tired of asking you out; even your partner gets jack of it.’
- ‘They do it time after time after time and I've got to say I'm jack of it.’
- ‘By Monday, I was getting very jack of the job.’
- ‘The US people are getting jack of it.’
- ‘Since WWII, they have bombed 21 countries and I think the "Rest Of The World" is getting a bit jack of it.’
- ‘When they start announcing these things three and four times over with the same funds, then we get a bit jack of that.’
Late 19th century: from jack up ‘give up’ (see jack up).
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