AskDefine | Define box

Dictionary Definition



1 a (usually rectangular) container; may have a lid; "he rummaged through a box of spare parts"
2 private area in a theater or grandstand where a small group can watch the performance; "the royal box was empty" [syn: loge]
3 the quantity contained in a box; "he gave her a box of chocolates" [syn: boxful]
4 a predicament from which a skillful or graceful escape is impossible; "his lying got him into a tight corner" [syn: corner]
5 a rectangular drawing; "the flowchart contained many boxes"
6 evergreen shrubs or small trees [syn: boxwood]
7 any one of several designated areas on a ball field where the batter or catcher or coaches are positioned; "the umpire warned the batter to stay in the batter's box"
8 the driver's seat on a coach; "an armed guard sat in the box with the driver" [syn: box seat]
9 separate partitioned area in a public place for a few people; "the sentry stayed in his box to avoid the cold"
10 a blow with the hand (usually on the ear); "I gave him a good box on the ear"


1 put into a box; "box the gift, please" [syn: package] [ant: unbox]
2 hit with the fist; "I'll box your ears!"
3 engage in a boxing match

User Contributed Dictionary



  • a UK /bɒks/, /bQks/
  • a US , /bɑːks/, /bA:ks/
  • Rhymes with: -ɒks

Etymology 1

< < buxis < pyxis "container" < pyxos "box tree"; related to German Büchse.


  1. A rectangular container, usually with a folding lid.
  2. As much as fills a box.
    a box of books
  3. A compartment to sit in at a theater, courtroom or auditorium.
  4. A small rectangular shelter like a booth.
  5. A rectangular border around an image or section of text.
  6. A trap or predicament.
    I'm really in a box now.
  7. The driver's seat on a coach.
  8. A hard protector for the genitals worn by a batsman or close fielder inside the underpants.
  9. A cylindrical casing around for example a bearing or gland.
  10. The penalty area.
  11. computing slang A computer.
    a UNIX box
  12. (with the) Television.
  13. The vagina.
Usage notes
  • The whimsical plural boxen is occasionally used.
rectangular container
as much as fills a box
compartment to sit in
small rectangular shelter
driver’s seat on a coach
coarse slang: the vagina
  • Danish: dåse
  • Dutch: doos
  • Finnish: pesä
  • French: chatte
  • German: Dose
  • Hungarian: doboz
  • Russian: манда (mandá)
slang: with "the": television
  • Danish: kassen
  • Finnish: telkkari, toosa
  • French: la télé
  • Italian: la tele
computing: computer
cricket: hard protector for the genitals
engineering: cylindrical casing


  1. To place inside a box.
  2. To place a primitive value into an object (such as an int into an Integer) -- see also autoboxing.
  3. To hem in.
place inside a box
hem in

Etymology 2

< < buxus < πύξος.


  1. Any of various evergreen shrubs or trees of the genus Buxus.
    • 1885: the application of woods other than box for purposes for which that wood is now used would tend to lessen the demand for box — Scientific American Supplement, No. 497, July 11, 1885
any of various evergreen shrubs or trees

Etymology 3


  1. A blow with the fist.
blow with the fist


  1. To strike with the fists.
    box someone’s ears
  2. In the context of "transitive|Jamaican English|AAVE": To punch (a person).
    Leave dis place before I box you.
  3. To fight against (a person) in a boxing match.
  4. To participate in boxing; to be a boxer.
strike with the fists
  • Chinese traditional/simplified: 耳光, 耳光 (ěr guāng)
  • Danish: slå
  • French: boxer
  • German: boxen
  • Italian: boxare
  • Swedish: boxa
punch (a person)
fight against (a person) in a boxing match
intransitive: participate in boxing





  1. stall (for a horse), loose box
  2. compartment, cubicle
  3. garage, lock-up (for a car)

Derived terms






Etymology 1

From boxe.


  1. boxing i the sport of
  2. A kind of sword.

Etymology 2

From box.

Etymology 3


  1. A breed of bulldog.

Extensive Definition

Box describes a variety of containers and receptacles. When no specific shape is described, a typical rectangular box may be expected. Nevertheless, a box may have a horizontal cross section that is square, elongated, round or oval; sloped or domed top surfaces, or non-vertical sides.
A decorative box normally may be opened by raising, pulling, sliding or removing the lid, which may be hinged and/or fastened by a catch, clasp, lock, or adhesive tape. Whatever its shape or purpose or the material of which it is fashioned, it is the direct descendant of the chest, one of the most ancient articles of domestic furniture. Its uses are innumerable, and the name, preceded by a qualifying adjective, has been given to many objects of artistic or antiquarian interest. Objects are often placed inside boxes, for a variety of reasons.
A common storage box has the shape of a cuboid or right rectangular prism. Other shaped boxes are also in use.

Packaging Boxes

Several types of boxes are used in packaging and storage.
  • A corrugated box is a shipping container made of corrugated fiberboard rather than solid paperboard. These are most commonly used to transport and warehouse products during distribution.
  • A folding carton (sometimes called a box) is fabricated from paperboard. The paperboard is printed (if necessary), die-cut and scored to form a blank. These are transported and stored flat, and erected at the point of filling. These are used to package a wide range of consumer goods.
  • A "set up" box (or rigid paperboard box) is made of a non-bending grade of paperboard. Unlike folding cartons, these are assembled at the point of manufacture and transported already "set-up". Set-up boxes are more expensive than folding boxes and are typically used for high value items such as cosmetics and gift boxes.
  • A wooden box is related to a wooden crate.
  • Depending on locale and specific usage, the terms carton and box are sometimes used interchangeably.

Permanent boxes

Numerous types of boxes are used in permanent installations. Permanent boxes include the following:

Equipment boxes


Shelters or booths

  • Police box, a booth for police use
  • Signal box, a building by a railway to coordinate and control railway signals
  • Telephone box, or telephone booth, a booth containing a public telephone

Decorative boxes

Jewelry box

A jewelry (AmE) or jewellery (BrE) box, is a receptacle for trinkets, not only jewels. It may take a very modest form, covered in leather and lined with satin, or it may reach the monumental proportions.

Bible box

A Bible Box is a box made to hold Bibles. These boxes started being manufactured in the 17th century.


The etui is an ornamental box for carrying in your pocket or purse, with small tools like folding scissors, needles, hairpins, makeup pencils, etc. 18th century etui Some etui were used to carry doctors' lancets.

Wooden wine box

Wooden wine boxes, also known as wooden wine crates are used to ship and store expensive wines in transit. Most wineries that use wooden boxes engrave their logo and designs on the front panel. These panels are usually highly detailed and used by wine collectors as decoration pieces for their bars or wine cellars. A typical wooden wine box holds either 6 or 12 750 ML bottles.

Types of box

  • Box (wood), a wooden box for packaging or storage. ''See also crate.
  • Ballot box, a box in which votes (ballot papers) are deposited during voting
  • Black box, something for which the internal operation is not described but its function is
  • Black box (transportation), a durable data-recording device found in some vehicles, used to assist in the investigation of an accident
  • Coach box, the driver's seat on a carriage or coach
  • Glory box or Hope Chest, a box or chest containing items typically stored by unmarried young women in anticipation of married life.
  • Lunch box, or "lunch pail" or "lunch kit", a rigid container used for carrying food
  • Mitre box, a woodworking tool used to guide a hand saw to make precise mitre cuts in a board
  • Set-top box, a device used to decode and display TV signals
  • Nest box, a substitute for a hole in a tree for birds to make a nest in.
  • Toolbox, (or tool box), a box for tools
  • Pandora's box, in Greek mythology, a box containing the evils of mankind and also hope
  • Dispatch box, (or despatch box), a box for holding official papers and transporting them
  • Box, informal reference to large box-shaped parts of a computer, such as the base unit or tower case of a personal computer.
  • Torsion box, consists of two skins applied to a core material, light in weight, functions as a beam
  • Post office box, (often abbreviated P.O. box or PO box), a uniquely-addressable lockable box located in a post office station.
  • Post box (British English and others, also written postbox), or mailbox (North American English and others) is a physical box used to collect mail that is to be sent to a destination. Varieties of post boxes for outgoing mail include:
  • Post box, can refer to a letter box for incoming mail
  • Phreaking boxes, devices used by phone phreaks to perform various functions normally reserved for operators and other telephone company employees
  • Vermilion box, a hypothetical portable improvised line emulator

References and sources

box in German: Kasten
box in Spanish: Caja
box in Esperanto: Kesto
box in French: Caisse (contenant)
box in Scottish Gaelic: Bocsa
box in Korean: 상자
box in Indonesian: Kotak
box in Malay (macrolanguage): Kotak
box in Dutch: Doos
box in Dutch Low Saxon: Deuze
box in Japanese: 箱
box in Polish: Skrzynia (opakowanie)
box in Sicilian: Cascia (cuntinituri)
box in Simple English: Box
box in Finnish: Laatikko
box in Swedish: Låda
box in Tajik: Қуттӣ
box in Chinese: 盒子

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Christmas present, archives, armory, arsenal, attic, auditorium, award, bag, balcony, bank, barrel, basement, basket, battle, bay, bin, birthday present, blind alley, blip, blockhouse, blow, bonded warehouse, bookcase, booth, bottle, box in, box seat, box the ears, box up, brawl, broil, buffet, bungalow, bunker, burden, burial case, buttery, cabin, caboose, cadeau, camp, can, capsule, cargo dock, carton, case, cask, casket, cavity, cell, cellar, cellule, chalet, chamber, chest, chop, circumscribe, clash, close, closet, clout, coffin, collide, combat, come to blows, compartment, confine, conservatory, contend, contest, corner, cot, cote, cottage, cramp, crate, crib, crypt, cuff, cul-de-sac, cupboard, cut, cut and thrust, dead end, dead-end street, deadlock, depository, depot, dock, drawer, dress circle, duel, dump, embox, embrace, encapsulate, encase, enclosed space, encyst, enfold, enshroud, envelop, enwrap, exchange blows, exchequer, extremity, fairing, fauteuil, fence, feud, fight, fight a duel, fill, fix, flap, freight, gallery, gift, give and take, give satisfaction, glory hole, godown, grapple, grapple with, halt, hamper, handsel, haymaker, heap, heap up, hem, hem in, hold, hole, hollow, hutch, impasse, invest, jam, jar, jostle, joust, keep from spreading, keep within bounds, kist, lade, lap, lash, library, limit, load, localize, locker, lodge, log cabin, loge, love nest, lumber room, lumberyard, magasin, magazine, manger, mass, mix it up, mummy case, narrow, nigger heaven, oblation, offering, orchestra, orchestra circle, pack, pack away, package, paradise, parcel, parquet, parquet circle, parterre, paste, peace offering, peanut gallery, pew, pickle, pied-a-terre, pile, pit, plight, pocket, pot, present, presentation, proscenium boxes, punch, qualify, quarrel, rack, rassle, repertory, repository, reservoir, restrict, rick, riot, run a tilt, sack, sarcophagus, scramble, scrape, scuffle, shack, shanty, sheathe, shelf, ship, shroud, skirmish, slap, slap the face, smack, smother, snuggery, sock, spank, spar, spot, stack, stack room, stalemate, stall, stand, standing room, standstill, stint, stock room, stop, storage, store, storehouse, storeroom, stow, strike, stripe, strive, struggle, supply base, supply depot, surround, swaddle, swathe, tank, theatre stall, thrust and parry, tighten, tilt, tin, token punishment, tourney, treasure house, treasure room, treasury, tribute, tussle, vat, vault, wage war, war, warehouse, whack, whip, white elephant, whomp, wine cellar, wrap, wrap about, wrap up, wrestle
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