Etymology
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billy (n.)
"club," 1848, American English, originally burglars' slang for "crowbar;" meaning "policeman's club" first recorded 1856, probably from nickname of William, applied to various objects (compare jack, jimmy, jenny). But compare French bille "a short, stout stick" (see billet (n.1)). Billy-goat as a familiar name for a male goat is from 1826.
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zany (n.)
comic performer, 1580s, from French zani, from Italian zani, zanni "a zany, clown," originally Zanni, Venetian dialect variant of Gianni, pet form of Giovanni "John;" thus equivalent to English Jack. A stock character in old comedies, he aped the principal actors.
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natterjack (n.)

common toad of western and north-central Europe (rare in Britain) with a yellow stripe on its back, a distinctive running gait, and a loud mating call, 1769; the second element probably is the proper name jack (q.v.); for first element, Weekley suggests connection with attor "poison" (see attercop); it also could be echoic of its croaking.

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jackdaw (n.)

1540s, "the common daw," a type of small European crow (Corvus monedula), "which frequents church towers, old buildings, etc.; noted for its loquacity and thievish propensities" [OED]. See jack (n.) + daw.

In modern times, parrots are almost the only birds that have the gift of speech, though connoisseurs are not ignorant that starlings and jackdaws have good abilities in that way, when properly educated. ["Chambers' Home Book and Pocket Miscellany," 1853]

In U.S. sometimes applied to a species of grackle.

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jack-knife (v.)
1776, "to stab," from jack-knife (n.). Intransitive meaning "to fold or bend" the body is said to date from the time of the American Civil War. The truck accident verbal sense is from 1949. Related: Jackknifed; jackknifing.
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cracker-jack (n.)

also crackerjack, "something excellent," 1893, U.S. colloquialism, apparently a fanciful construction, earliest use in reference to racing horses. The caramel-coated popcorn-and-peanuts confection was said to have been introduced at the World's Columbian Exposition (1893). Supposedly a salesman gave it the name when he tasted some and said, "That's a cracker-jack," using the then-popular expression. The name was trademarked 1896. The "Prize in Every Box" was introduced 1912.

"Your brother Bob is traveling, isn't he?"
"Yep. He's with one of the big racing teams. I tell you, he's a cracker-jack! Wins a bushel of diamonds and gold cups every week."
[Life magazine, Aug. 1, 1895]
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hijack (v.)
by 1922 (perhaps c. 1918), American English, of unknown origin; perhaps from high(way) + jacker "one who holds up" (agent noun from jack (v.)). In early use "to rob (a bootlegger, smuggler, etc.) in transit;" sense of "seize an aircraft in flight" is 1968 (also in 1961 variant skyjack), extended 1970s to any form of public transportation. Related: Hijacked; hijacking. Related: Hijacker.
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jacket (n.)
mid-15c., "short garment for men," from Old French jaquet "short coat with sleeves," diminutive of jaque, a kind of tunic, which is of uncertain origin. Probably it is from Jacque, the male proper name, also the generic name of a French peasant (see jacquerie) with extended material senses as in native jack (n.). But possibly it is from or influenced by jaque (de mailles) "short, tight-fitting coat," originally "coat of mail," from Spanish jaco, from Arabic shakk "breastplate." Meaning "paper wrapper of a book" is first attested 1886.

Iakke, jakke "a short, close-fitting stuffed or quilted tunic, often serving as a defensive garment" is attested in English from late 14c. (from Old French jaque), and by c. 1400 was being used for "woman's short tunic." It is possible that jacket was formed in English as a diminutive of this.
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jackpot (n.)

also jack-pot, "big prize," 1944, from slot machine sense (1932), from now-obsolete poker sense (1881) in reference to antes that begin when no player has a pair of jacks or better; from jack (n.) in the card-playing sense + pot (n.1). Earlier, in criminal slang, it meant "trouble," especially "an arrest" (1902).

The regular Draw-Poker game is usually varied by occasional Jack-Pots, which are played once in so many deals, or when all have refused to play, or when the player deals who holds the buck, a marker placed in the pool with every jack-pot. In a jack-pot each player puts up an equal stake and receives a hand. The pot must then be opened by a player holding a hand of the value of a pair of knaves (jacks) or better. If no player holds so valuable a hand the deal passes and each player adds a small sum to the pot or pool. When the pot is opened the opener does so by putting up any sum he chooses, within the limit, and his companions must pay in the same amount or "drop." They also possess the right to raise the opener. The new cards called for are then dealt and the opener starts the betting, the play proceeding as in the regular game. [Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th ed., 1911, "Poker." The article notes "Jack-Pots were introduced about 1870."]

To hit the jackpot "be very successful" is from 1938.

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fee-faw-fum (interj.)
exclamation of the giant in "Jack the Giant-Killer," c. 1600.
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