box

1 of 6

noun (1)

plural boxes
1
: a rigid typically rectangular container with or without a cover
a cigar box
: such as
a
: an open cargo container of a vehicle
b
: coffin
2
: the contents of a box especially as a measure of quantity
3
: an often small space, compartment, or enclosure: such as
a
: an enclosed group of seats for spectators (as in a theater or stadium)
b
: a cell for holding mail
d
: a driver's seat on a carriage or coach
e
British : box stall
4
: a box or boxlike container and its contents: such as
a
: a usually self-contained piece of electronic equipment
c
: a signaling apparatus
alarm box
d
: an automobile transmission
e
British : a gift in a box
f
5
: a usually rectangular space that is frequently outlined or demarcated on a surface: such as
a
: a space on a page for printed matter or in which to make a mark
b
: any of six spaces on a baseball diamond where the batter, coaches, pitcher, and catcher stand
c
: the intersection of two roads especially when treated as an area where vehicles are prohibited from stopping because doing so would interfere with traffic flow
Don't block the box.
6
: the limitations of conventionality
trying to think outside the box
7
: a cubical building
8
British : cup sense 5b
I like to use a pair of trousers which have a lot more room in them so that they give me far more freedom of movement. They also make it easier to put in a thigh pad and box. Glenn Turner
9
boxful noun
plural boxfuls
boxlike adjective

box

2 of 6

verb (1)

boxed; boxing; boxes

transitive verb

1
: to enclose in or as if in a box
2
: to hem in (someone, such as an opponent)
usually used with in, out, or up
boxed out the tackle

box

3 of 6

verb (2)

boxed; boxing; boxes

intransitive verb

: to fight with the fists : engage in boxing

transitive verb

1
: to hit (something, especially someone's ears) with the hand
2
: to engage in boxing with

box

4 of 6

noun (2)

: a punch or slap especially on the ear

box

5 of 6

noun (3)

plural box or boxes
: an evergreen shrub or small tree (genus Buxus of the family Buxaceae, the box family) with opposite entire leaves and capsular fruits
especially : a widely cultivated shrub (B. sempervirens) used for hedges, borders, and topiary figures

box

6 of 6

verb (3)

boxed; boxing; boxes

transitive verb

: to name the 32 points of (the compass) in their order
used figuratively in the phrase box the compass to describe making a complete reversal

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English, from Old English, from Late Latin buxis, from Greek pyxis, from pyxos box tree

Noun (2)

Middle English

Noun (3)

Middle English, from Old English, from Latin buxus, from Greek pyxos

Verb (3)

probably from Spanish bojar to circumnavigate, from Catalan vogir to turn, from Latin volvere to roll — more at voluble

First Known Use

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (1)

1545, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (3)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb (3)

1713, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of box was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near box

Cite this Entry

“Box.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/box. Accessed 5 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

box 1 of 5

noun

plural box or boxes
: an evergreen shrub or small tree used especially for hedges

box

2 of 5

noun

1
a
: a container usually having four sides, a bottom, and a cover
b
: the amount held by a box
ate a whole box of popcorn
2
: a small compartment for a group of spectators in a theater
3
: the driver's seat on a carriage
4
: a shed that protects
5
: a container (as for a car transmission) that resembles a box
6
: a rectangle which encloses and draws attention to something printed
7
: a space on a baseball diamond where a batter, coach, pitcher, or catcher stands
8
: the limits of ordinariness
thinking outside the box

box

3 of 5

verb

: to enclose in or as if in a box

box

4 of 5

noun

: a punch or slap especially on the ear

box

5 of 5

verb

1
: to strike with the hand
2
: to engage in boxing : fight with the fists

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