jack·​pot | \ ˈjak-ˌpät How to pronounce jackpot (audio) \

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

Hitting the jackpot The Massachusetts restaurant industry just landed a windfall: $2 million to promote it in the new state budget. BostonGlobe.com, "Governor Charlie Baker’s former chief legal counsel," 10 Sep. 2019 Finding a stunning piece of furniture on the side of the street can feel like hitting the jackpot. Selena Barrientos, House Beautiful, "Twitter Wants the Name of the Person Who Painted Over This Antique Dresser," 14 Aug. 2019 This year the game is a bit different but again the jackpot has surged to a frenzied level. Maura Zurick, cleveland.com, "Watch $2 million Queen of Hearts drawing at 8 p.m. from Parma bar on Facebook Live," 28 Aug. 2019 Nothing would undercut Scott’s plan for a jackpot more than a marketplace that’s soft in all the wrong places. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, "Pac-12 media strategy: Larry Scott envisions a jackpot, but obstacles loom (in our opinion)," 26 Aug. 2019 If that brings you two closer and suddenly there’s a future beyond this summer, jackpot! Author: Wayne And Wanda, Anchorage Daily News, "Should I ask my summer fling to ditch his seasonal lifestyle and stay in Alaska?," 17 Aug. 2019 Live racing returns to Laurel Park with an eight-race program Thursday, Aug. 8 featuring a 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot of $20,746.48. Baltimore Sun Staff, baltimoresun.com, "Juan Dixon-led Team Hines falls in semifinals of $2 million The Basketball Tournament," 4 Aug. 2019 But while no company could claim the jackpot, many have not given up on the moon as a business opportunity. Kenneth Chang, New York Times, "Why Everyone Wants to Go Back to the Moon," 12 July 2019 Buzz60 A Ypsilanti man won a $351,180 jackpot playing his fortune cookie numbers. Dixita Limbachia, Detroit Free Press, "Ypsilanti man wins $350K lottery jackpot using fortune cookie numbers," 25 June 2019

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

14 Sep 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 How to pronounce jackpot (audio) \

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

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).


to make a temporary encampment

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