Words related to jack


masc. proper name; Old Testament patriarch, son of Isaac and Rebecca and father of the founders of the twelve tribes, from Late Latin Iacobus, from Greek Iakobos, from Hebrew Ya'aqobh, literally "one that takes by the heel; a supplanter" (Genesis xxv.26), a derivative of 'aqebh "heel." The most popular name for boys born in the U.S. from 1999 through 2008. Jacob's ladder, in various transferred uses from 1733, is from Genesis xxviii.12. In Spanish as Jago, Iago, also Diego; with alterations as Italian Giacomo, James, and (contracted) Spanish Jaime.


masc. proper name, Middle English Jon, Jan (mid-12c.), from Old French Jan, Jean, Jehan (Modern French Jean), from Medieval Latin Johannes, an alteration of Late Latin Joannes, from Greek Ioannes, from Hebrew Yohanan (longer form y'hohanan), said to mean literally "Jehovah has favored" or "Jah is gracious," from hanan "he was gracious."

Greek conformed the Hebrew ending to its own customs. The -h- in English was inserted in imitation of the Medieval Latin form. Old English had the Biblical name as Iohannes. As the name of John the Baptist and John the Evangelist, it was one of the most frequent Christian given names, and in England by early 14c. it rivaled William in popularity and was used generically (in Middle English especially of priests) and as an appellative (as in John Barleycorn, John Bull, John Q. Public). Somehow it also became the characteristic name of a Chinaman (1818).

The Latin name also is the source of French Jean, Spanish Juan, Italian Giovanni, Portuguese João, also Dutch Jan, Hans, German Johann, Russian Ivan. Welsh form was Ieuan, Efan (see Evan), but Ioan was adopted for the Welsh Authorized Version of the Bible, hence frequency of Jones as a Welsh surname.

jock (n.)

1952, short for jockstrap "supporter of the male genital organs," which also meant, in slang, "athletic male." Jock with the meaning "an athletic man" is from 1963, American English slang. A jockette (1948) originally was a female disk jockey, then a female jockey (1969), then an athletic female (1979).

jockey (n.)

"person who rides horses in races," 1660s, a specific use of the earlier sense "boy, fellow" (1520s), which is a special use of the Scottish proper name Jockey, a familiar or diminutive form of Jock. Jockey-boots are from 1680s; jockey-shorts "abbreviated underwear for men" is from 1935 (jockey-briefs from 1946).

derrick (n.)

c. 1600, "a hangman," also "a gallows," from the surname of a hangman at London's Tyburn gallows, c. 1606-1608, who is often referred to in contemporary plays. The name represents a late borrowing from the Low Countries (compare Dutch Diederik) of Old High German Theodric (see Dietrich).

As "a hoisting apparatus for lifting and moving heavy weights," 1727. "It is similar to the crane, but differs from it in having the boom, which corresponds to the jib of the crane, pivoted at the lower end so that it may take different inclinations from the perpendicular" [Century Dictionary]. As the word for a structure over an oil well to support the drilling apparatus, 1861, American English.

jackass (n.)

"male ass," 1727, from jack (n.) + ass (n.1). Contemptuous meaning "stupid person" is attested by 1784 (Ignatius Sancho). Related: Jackassism (1837, American English); jackassery (1833).

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.

Union Jack 

1670s, from union + jack (n.); properly a small British union flag flown as the jack of a ship, but it has long been in use as a general name for the union flag. The Union flag (1630s) was introduced to symbolize the union of the crowns of England and Scotland (in 1603) and was formed of a combination of the cross saltire of St. Andrew and the cross of St. George. The cross saltire of St. Patrick was added 1801 upon the union of parliaments of Great Britain and Ireland.

billy (n.)

"club," 1848, American English, originally burglars' slang for "crowbar." The meaning "policeman's club" is recorded by 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)).

blackjack (n.)

used in various senses since 16c., the earliest is possibly that of "tar-coated leather jug for beer" (1590s), from black (adj.) + jack in any of its many slang meanings. It is attested from 1867 as "pirate flag." The hand-weapon is so called from 1889; the card game by 1900.