jack·​pot | \ˈjak-ˌpät \

Definition of jackpot 

1a : the top prize in a game or contest (such as a lottery) that is typically a large fund of money formed by the accumulation of unwon prizes

b(1) : a hand or game of draw poker in which a pair of jacks or better is required to open

(2) : a large pot (as in poker) formed by the accumulation of stakes from previous play

c(1) : a combination on a slot machine that wins a top prize or all the coins available for paying out

(2) : the sum so won

2 : an impressive often unexpected success or reward

3 chiefly Western US : a tight spot : jam

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Synonyms for jackpot


jack, pool, pot

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Examples of jackpot in a Sentence

The lottery jackpot is up to one million dollars. a wily dude who managed to get himself out of one jackpot after another

Recent Examples on the Web

The latest Powerball drawing offers a hefty jackpot for someone who holds a lottery ticket with the right numbers. National Desk, NOLA.com, "Powerball numbers: Did you win Wednesday's $195.2 million lottery jackpot?," 2 May 2018 The jackpot for Wednesday's Powerball drawing is $195 million. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland.com, "Mega Millions winning numbers for 05/01/2018; jackpot $126 million," 1 May 2018 The jackpots for two multi-state lottery games continued to climb this week. Jessica Anderson, baltimoresun.com, "Pot of gold? Mega Millions, Powerball jackpots rich for St. Patrick's Day weekend," 16 Mar. 2018 The Powerball jackpot for Saturday was up to $570 million just hours before the latest bonanza drawing. Matthew Martinez, star-telegram, "Two winning tickets minted millionaires in Texas — but not quite 'Mega' millionaires," 6 Jan. 2018 In Friday’s $450 million Mega Millions drawing, a single jackpot-winning ticket was sold in Florida. NBC News, "$570 million Powerball jackpot-winning ticket sold in New Hampshire," 7 Jan. 2018 The Jackpot Slots Fast Cash ticket instantly won a $519,456 progressive jackpot prize last year and has gone unclaimed for 11 months, according to the Michigan Lottery. Tanya Wildt, Detroit Free Press, "Deadline nears to claim $500,000 lotto ticket sold in Detroit," 27 June 2018 One lucky Texan who just weeks ago bought a Texas Lotto ticket that matched all the winning numbers for a $30.25 million jackpot has already claimed the prize. Anna M. Tinsley, star-telegram, "This Texan didn't wait long to claim a $30 million Texas Lotto jackpot," 5 June 2018 Then good Samaritans arrived 'Just look at him:' Rescuers raced from California to SC to save kitten trapped in well There are two major lotteries in the U.S. with jackpots around $300 million each. Joe Marusak, charlotteobserver, "NC man rolled his eyes when wife asked him to buy a lottery ticket. Then he won big | Charlotte Observer," 23 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'jackpot.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of jackpot

1865, in the meaning defined at sense 1b(1)

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Statistics for jackpot

Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for jackpot

The first known use of jackpot was in 1865

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More Definitions for jackpot



Financial Definition of jackpot

What It Is

A jackpot is a big winning -- often the largest a competition or event has to offer.

How It Works

Let's say John Doe goes to Las Vegas to get away from his wife for a few days. He puts a few dollars in a slot machine and pulls the handle. Three red cherries pop up, lights start flashing, and music starts playing. John has won a $250,000 jackpot -- the largest payout the slot machines offer. He collects his winnings and leaves his wife, who later sues him for half.

Why It Matters

In the finance world, a jackpot is similar to a windfall -- it is an amount of money that is usually unexpected and usually very large. Jackpots can be the result of investing in IPOs that do well, holding onto a stock that everybody else left for dead, or investing in assets that were undervalued.

Note, however, that when you win a jackpot, the IRS does too -- income is taxable, regardless of whether it was expected.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of jackpot

: a usually large amount of money won in a game of chance


jack·​pot | \ˈjak-ˌpät \

Kids Definition of jackpot

1 : a large amount of money to be won

2 : a large and often unexpected success or reward

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Comments on jackpot

What made you want to look up jackpot? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


obstinately defiant of authority

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