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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Mega Millions has existed in some form since 1996; here’s how lottery officials have tweaked the rules and odds of the game to make jackpots pay out less frequently, spurring their monster growth. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Inside the race to hack-proof the Democratic Party," 18 Oct. 2018 This jackpot first began as a $5 million prize in December and rolled over 42 times before someone matched all the numbers in a May 16 drawing. Anna M. Tinsley, star-telegram, "This Texan didn't wait long to claim a $30 million Texas Lotto jackpot," 5 June 2018 Saturday’s jackpot winner will reportedly receive a payment of $147 million before taxes. Bradford Betz, Fox News, "Single $245M Powerball ticket sold in Staten Island, NY, officials say," 12 Aug. 2018 Kelly Cripe with the Texas Lottery Commission said Tuesday that many of the big lotto jackpot winners opt to not be identified when claiming huge prizes. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "A lucky Houstonian has claimed a $30 million Texas Lotto jackpot," 5 June 2018 Heading into Friday, there is a $0.20 pick 6 jackpot carryover of $26,098. John Cherwa, latimes.com, "Racing! Magnum Moon wins, but drops in Jon White’s Kentucky Derby poll," 20 Apr. 2018 The chances of winning the jackpot are slim: 1 in about 258.9 million. Dana Hedgpeth, Washington Post, "Feeling lucky? Mega Millions jackpot hits half a billion dollars.," 29 Mar. 2018 Nearly 3 million ticket holders won prizes of varying value on Friday, including the jackpot winner and eight tickets that matched five of six numbers, according to Mega Millions. Jamie Ducharme, Fortune, "The $450 Million Mega Millions Winning Ticket Was Sold at 7-11," 6 Jan. 2018 The jackpot winner has 180 days from the date of the drawing to claim the prize. Howard Cohen, miamiherald, "Someone in Florida just won a $450 million jackpot. But you can win even more tonight," 6 Jan. 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.

See More

First Known Use of jackpot

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about jackpot

Statistics for jackpot

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for jackpot

The first known use of jackpot was in 1865

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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).


a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!