jack


jack
{{11}}jack (n.) late 14c., jakke "a mechanical device," from the masc. name JACK (Cf. Jack). The proper name was used in M.E. for "any common fellow" (mid-14c.), and thereafter extended to various appliances replacing servants (1570s). Used generically of men (jack-of-all-trades, 1610s), male animals (1620s, see JACKASS (Cf. jackass), JACKDAW (Cf. jackdaw), etc.), and male personifications (1520s, e.g. Jack Frost, 1826). As the name of a device for pulling off boots, from 1670S. The jack in a pack of playing cards (1670s) is in German Bauer "peasant." Jack shit "nothing at all" is attested by 1968, U.S. slang. The plant jack-in-the-pulpit is attested by 1837. Jack the Ripper was active in London 1888. The jack of UNION JACK (Cf. Union Jack) is a nautical term for "small flag at the bow of a ship" (1630s).
{{12}}jack (v.) 1860, jack up "hoist, raise," Amer.Eng., from the noun (see JACK (Cf. jack) (n.)). Figurative sense "increase (prices, etc.)" is 1904, American English. Jack off (v.) "to masturbate" is attested from 1916, probably from jack (n.) in the sense of "penis."

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

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