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Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 107 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JACK, a word with a great variety of meanings and applications, all traceable to the common use of the word as a by-name of a man. The question has been much discussed whether " Jack " as a name is an adaptation of Fr. Jacques, i.e. James, from Lat. Jacobus, Gr. 'IfKw(3or, or whether it is a direct pet formation from John, which is its earliest and universal use in English. In the History of the Monastery of St Augustine at Canterbury, 1414, Jack is given as a form of John—Mos est Saxonum . . . verba et nomina transformare . . . . ut . . . pro Johanne Jankin sine Jacke (see E. W. B. Nicholson, The Pedigree of Jack and other Allied Names, 1892). " Jack " was early used as a general term for any man of the common people, especially in combination with the woman's name Jill or Gill, as in the nursery rhyme. The New English Dictionary quotes from the I College; one at Eton College; and six at the Chelsea Hospital. Coventry Mysteries, 1450: " And I wole kepe the feet this tyde Many specimens are painted with shields of arms, initials and Thow ther come both Iakke and Gylle." Familiar examples of other devices; they are very seldom mounted in silver, though this generic application of the name are Jack or Jack Tar for a spurious specimens with silver medallions of Cromwell and other sailor, which seems to date from the 17th century, and such prominent personages exist. At the end of the 17th century a compound uses as cheap-jack and steeple-jack, or such expres- smaller jack of a different form, like an ordinary drinking mug sions as " jack in office," " jack of all trades," &c. It is a further with a tapering cylindrical body, often mounted in silver, came extension of this that gives the name to the knave in a pack of into vogue in a limited degree. The black jack is a distinct type of drinking vessel from the leather hotel and the bombard. The jack-boot, the heavy riding boot with long flap covering the knee and part of the thigh, and worn by troopers first during the 17th century, was so called probably from association with the leather jack or jerkin. The jack-boot is still worn by. the Household Cavalry, and the name is applied to a high riding boot reaching to the knee as distinguished from the riding boot with tops, used in full hunting-kit or by grooms or coachmen. Jack, sometimes spelled jak, is the common name for the fruit of the tree Artiocarpus integrifolia, found in the East Indies. The word is an adaptation of the Portuguese jaca from the Malay name chakka. (See BREAD FRUIT.) The word " jackanapes," now used as an opprobrious term for a swaggering person with impertinent ways and affected airs and graces, has a disputed and curious history. According to the New English Dictionary it first appears in 1450 in reference to William de la Pole, duke of Suffolk (Political Poems, " Rolls Series," II. 224), " Jack Napys with his clogge hath tiede Talbot oure gentille dogge." Suffolk's badge was a clog and chain, such as was often used for an ape kept in captivity, and he is alluded to (ibid. 222) as " Ape clogge." Jack Napes, Jack o' Napes, Jackanapes, was a common name for a tame ape from the 16th century, and it seems more likely that the word is a fanciful name for a monkey than that it is due to the nickname of Suffolk.
End of Article: JACK

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