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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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

At the end, the player with the most points will win (or split) the jackpot. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "HQ Trivia looks to expand with HQ Words, a new Wheel of Fortune-style game," 18 Sep. 2018 Vesey won a $1,500 lottery jackpot in 1799 ($31,000 in today’s dollars) and purchased his freedom for $600. Jonathan D. Cohen, Vox, "How lottery money helped build the United States," 24 Oct. 2018 Cisneros, a Navy veteran and one-time Republican who won a $266 million lottery jackpot with his wife, describes his candidacy as the next step in a life committed to public service, which started with his time in the military. Michael R. Blood, The Seattle Times, "Changing Orange County, California, gives Democrats hope," 16 Oct. 2018 Drawings for the Powerball jackpot take place at 11 p.m. every Wednesday and Saturday. Fleming Smith, ajc, "Mega Millions jackpot at $144M; Powerball reaches $121M," 12 June 2018 The New Hampshire woman who recently won a $560 million Powerball jackpot on Monday prevailed in her legal fight to keep her name out of the press, but the Fourth Estate could soon be descending on her hometown. Travis Andersen, BostonGlobe.com, "Winner of $560m Powerball jackpot can stay anonymous, but there’s a catch," 12 Mar. 2018 However, overall odds of buying a winning Powerball ticket of any kind are 1 in 25, let alone the 1 in 292,201,338 chance of actually securing the Powerball jackpot. Chris Sims, Indianapolis Star, "Unexpected Powerball payout stuns Fishers couple," 2 Feb. 2018 As the Mega Millions jackpot hit a record $1.6 billion, Lotto fever gripped the nation last week. Gene Balk / Fyi Guy, The Seattle Times, "These are the luckiest — and unluckiest — places to play the Washington lottery, data show," 31 Oct. 2018 And now with his new wife on his arm, Harry’s currency just hit the jackpot. Juliet Rieden, Town & Country, "Why Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Tour of Australia Is Crucial to the Future of the Monarchy," 1 Nov. 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

6 Feb 2019

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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More from Merriam-Webster on jackpot

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with jackpot

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for jackpot

Spanish Central: Translation of jackpot

Nglish: Translation of jackpot for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about jackpot

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