box

Definitions

General English

Agriculture

  • verb to mix different flocks of sheep

Cricket

  • noun a genital protector, usually in the form of a triangular shield made of a strong light material, worn inside the trousers by batsmen, and sometimes by wicket-keepers and close fielders
  • noun a fielding position between point and slip; gully or backward point
    Citation ‘Hobbs was caught in that nondescript position which is variously known as “the box” and “the gully”’ (Daily Mail 29 June 1926)

Economics

  • Used with a color, a category of subsidies based on status in WTO: red=forbidden, amber or orange=go slow (i.e., reduce the subsidy), green=permitted, blue=subsidies tied to production limits. Terminology seems only to be used in agriculture, where in fact there is no red box.

Electronics

  • An enclosure, typically consisting of a base, multiple sides, and a lid, which serves to house, enclose, insulate, or otherwise protect components, circuits, devices, or equipment. Examples include cable boxes, jack boxes, and fuse boxes. Also, a virtual box, such as that appearing on a computer screen.

Information & Library Science

  • verb to pack into boxes for transport or sale

Military

  • noun a tactical vehicle formation, in the form of a square or rectangle

Publishing

  • noun a straight rule running round a section of text or an illustration

Slang

  • noun a guitar. This usage was adopted by British rock musicians in the late 1960s from America, where it was originally used by black jazz and rock musicians in the 1950s.
  • noun a portable cassette/radio player. A version of the longer ‘ghetto/beat/rasta box’, heard in the later 1970s.
  • noun television. No longer really slang, but a common colloquialism, especially in Britain.

Sports

  • noun a relatively private enclosed area at a sports venue that contains the best and most luxurious seats
  • noun in many sports, a marked-off part of the playing area used for a special purpose, or subject to special rules
  • noun a protective plastic covering for a sportsman’s genitals, worn especially in cricket
  • verb to fight using the techniques of boxing, or fight someone in a boxing match

Theater

  • In the auditorium of a theater, a small semi-private compartment fromwhich a group of people can watch the performance. Historically, boxes werereserved for the aristocracy or other notables and offered the best views andmost comfortable accommodation in the house. This sense of hierarchy has tosome extent been maintained by the modern phenomenon of the corporate orhospitality box.

Travel

  • noun a special section in a theatre, with chairs for two or three spectators

Origin & History of “box”

English has two distinct words box. The ‘receptacle’ (OE) probably comes from late Latin buxis, a variant of Latin pyxis (whence English pyx ‘container for Communion bread’ (14th c.)). this was borrowed from Greek puxís, which originally meant not simply ‘box’, but specifically ‘box made of wood’; for it was a derivative of Greek púxos, which via Latin buxus has given English box the tree (OE).

Box ‘fight with the fists’ first appeared in English as a noun, meaning ‘blow’ (14th c.), now preserved mainly in ‘a box round the ears’. Its ancestry is uncertain: it may be related to middle Dutch bōke and Danish bask ‘blow’, or it could simply be an obscure metaphorical extension of box ‘receptacle’.
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