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JACK

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JACK

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Oct 09, 2011 11:14 pm

• jack •

Pronunciation: jæk • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A common man or a knave. 2. A mechanical device for lifting a heavy weight from below. 3. An electronic receptacle 4. A union flag (e.g. the Union Jack of Great Britain) 5. (Many, many more.)

Notes: John Bunyan wrote in Holy War (1682): "But Mr. Unbelief was a nimble Jack; him they never could lay hold of." So the word simply refers to an ordinary man in lumberjack, jack of all trades, and steeplejack. Elsewhere the meaning varies only slightly: cracker-jack (a first-rate jack), jumping jack, jack-in-the-box, jack-o'-lantern (originally, a night watchman), and jack-in-the-pulpit. This brings us to the phrase every man jack of them, which is simply an emphatic way to say, "every one of them".

In Play: The original meaning of the word is still around in some dialects, so feel free to use it in yours: "You don't have to buy something from every jack who knocks on the door." You may, of course, use it as an emphatic referring to people: "Every man jack of them was huddled around the TV set watching the Super Bowl."

Word History: Today's Good Word in Middle English Jakke, borrowed from Old French Jacques, a term also used colloquially to refer to a peasant. The word is a reflex of Late Latin Iacobus, taken from Greek Iakob. The Greek word comes from Hebrew ya'aqob "(God-)protected" from an earlier yacqub, a form of 'aqaba "to follow, protect". Jacket may be of the same origin. It does come from Old French jaquet, the diminutive of jaque "a short jacket", which could come from Jacques "peasant", mentioned above.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Mon Oct 10, 2011 11:20 am

I am curious, and probably could look it up, but what
is the flag reference?
I know the blue part of our flag with the stars is the
USA Jack, but what's the purpose of it?
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:26 pm

Isn't the British flag called the Union Jack?
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Mon Oct 10, 2011 8:00 pm

T'is.
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Postby Slava » Mon Oct 10, 2011 8:14 pm

As no one else has as yet, I've decided to self-elect and attempt to explain the FAQs of jacks.

The part of a flag that represents the unity of the country is called the jack. It comes from the name for the small flag flown on the jack spars of sailing vessels to show the ship's country of registration.

Thus, as the British flag is entirely given to this symbol, it is called the Union Jack. The upper left corner of the US flag is called the union as its stars are the individual units making up the union of states, and the blue represents the entirety of the union. Thus that chunk is the union of the US flag.
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Mon Oct 10, 2011 11:35 pm

And the 13 stripes remind us of state rights and disunion? Contrary to politicians, the founding fathers were by no mean united except against Britain. Just joshing. Those guys did an incredible job of compromise to be able to glue those disparate ideas into one nation.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Oct 11, 2011 8:03 pm

Which is so undone today.
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You don't know Jack!

Postby lmstrack » Thu Oct 13, 2011 9:23 am

This is a double entendre that my grandfather would use to describe someone who was clueless! And of course, it could be that you don't know about Jack the person.
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Thu Oct 13, 2011 10:43 am

Welcome, Lin.. Hope to hear more from you. I love double entendres and puns. People around me are always groaning. Every man jack of them!
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu Oct 13, 2011 11:35 am

I don't personally care for lots of puns. Once in a while
is OK. Welcome Lin.
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Re: You don't know Jack!

Postby Slava » Thu Oct 13, 2011 11:47 am

lmstrack wrote:This is a double entendre that my grandfather would use to describe someone who was clueless! And of course, it could be that you don't know about Jack the person.
Welcome Lin. Here's hoping you'll stick around.

For more on Jack, there is a scatological genealogy available here. I don't think it would pass muster to post it directly to the Agora, but it is fun.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:35 pm

That has been around for awhile, but it is fun to read again.
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