Green’s Dictionary of Slang

jack n.1

[later 20C+ usage is US black; given Shakespearian take down, to reduce a man’s sexual desire, cit. at 1595 may refer to jack n.3 (1)]

1. a man or boy; a commoner as distinct from a gentleman.

[UK]Chaucer Frere’s Tale line 1356: Whether that sir Robert or sir Huwe, Or Iakke or Rauf, or who-so that it were.
[UK]Skelton Agaynste A Comsely Coystrowne i line 14: Lo, Jak wold be a jentyl man! [...] An ussher of the hall fayn wold I get To poynyte this proude page a place and a rome, For Jak wold be a jentylman, that late was a grome.
[UK]Skelton Magnyfycence line 286: What avayleth lordshype, yourselfe for to kyll With care and thought howe Jacke shall have Gyl?
[UK]Skelton Colyn Cloute (1550) Aiii: They lumber forth the law To herken Jacke and Gyl / Whan they put vp a bil.
[UK]J. Heywood Proverbs I Ch. xi: I have been common Jacke to all that hole flocke.
[UK]T. Drant (trans.) ‘The fyrst Satyre’ Horace his Satyres Bk I Avi: Thy jacke, thy gille, thy kith, thy kinne doth prosecute thy fall.
[UK]J. Whetstone Promos and Cassandra II IV ii: To his knauery himselfe, a bawdy jack doth proue.
[UK]Nashe Anatomie of Absurditie in Works I (1883–4) 9: They distinguish a Gentleman from a broking Iacke, and Courtier from a club-headed companion.
[UK]Marlowe Edward II line 705: I haue not seene a dapper iack so briske; He wears a short Italian hooded cloake.
[UK]Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet II iii: I’ll take him down, an ’a were lustier than he is, and twenty such Jacks, and if I cannot, I’ll find those that shall.
[UK]Nashe Summer’s Last Will and Testament in Works VI (1883–4) 107: This sawcie vpstart Iacke.
[UK] L. Barry Ram-Alley IV i: Where be these raskcals that skip vp and downe, Faster then Veirginall iacks?
[UK]R. Burton Anatomy of Melancholy (1850) 332: A company of scoffers and proud jacks are commonly conversant and attendant in such places.
[UK]R. Brome Covent-Garden Weeded II i: Go to, you are a peevish Jack.
[UK]R. Brome Five New Plays 403: The frumping Jacks are gone [F&H].
[UK]C. Cotton Virgil Travestie (1765) Bk IV 126: Shall I invite to be my spouse [...] Some saucy, proud Numidian Jack, / And humbly beg of him to take / Aeneas’ leavings.
[UK]J. Ray Proverbs 108: Jack would be a gentleman, if he could speak French.
[UK] ‘Wades Reformation’ in Ebsworth Bagford Ballads (1878) I 8: Begon! quoth she, you saucy jack.
[UK]N. Ward London Spy XII 286: Every saucy Jack will tumble our Reputation into the Dripping-Pan.
[UK]T. Brown Amusements Serious and Comical in Works (1744) III 72: I am scandalis’d [...] at your custom in London, in making every sawcy jack a gentleman.
[UK] in D’Urfey Pills to Purge Melancholy I 28: Ye Jacks of the Town, / And Whiggs of renown.
[UK]S. Centlivre Artifice Act III: I wou’d not care if I were call’d plain Jack.
[UK]Foote Commissary in Works (1799) II 42: A gentleman by birth and by breeding, none of your little whipper snapper Jacks.
[UK]C. Dibdin ‘Leap Year’ Collection of Songs II 142: Every Jack will soon find out a Jill.
[UK]Wonder 6: The old saying, there’s never so bad a jack but there’s as bad a jill.
[UK]C. Dibdin Yngr Larks of Logic, Tom and Jerry III i: A charley’s the jack set to watch ’em.
[UK]F.L.G. Swells Night Out n.p.: It is not an unusual thing to witness Jack with a doxy on each knee.
[UK]G.R. Sims Three Brass Balls 130: The speaker was one of the flash young gentlemen who haunt suburban billiard-rooms [...] and call the marker ‘Jack’.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘Good For Trade’ Sporting Times 25 Mar. 1/4: Hence the more love-making Jacks there are, and eke love-making Jills, / Then the better is that worthy tradesman pleased.
[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 108: Jack. – A generic term for any tramp or other man.
[NZ]G. Slatter Gun in My Hand 52: This land where jack is better than his master.
[US]D. Pearce Cool Hand Luke (1967) 179: Luke had been made a Water Jack? Cool Hand Luke?
[US]Cab Calloway Of Minnie the Moocher and Me 182: Professor Calloway [...] was the hardest jack with the greatest jive.
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 279: Other generics include: [...] Jack, any man.
[US]L. Stavsky et al. A2Z 55/2: Jack – 1. n. any person.

2. an acquaintance.

[UK]J. Wade Vinegar and Mustard A2v: How you whispered with your Jacks and Pot-companions, and then you shook hands at parting.

3. a general term of abuse.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Jack a Term of Reproach, a little sorry Whipper-snapper [...] Every Jack will have a Gill, or the Coursest He, will have as Coarse a She.

4. as a term of address to a man [20C+ usage is primarily US].

[UK]C. Johnson Hist. of Highwaymen &c. 102: How now, Jack, says one of them.
[UK]J. Miller Complete Jest Book 143: Pr’ythee, Jack, which is the way to Windsor?
[UK]J. Greenwood Little Ragamuffin 146: I say, Jack [...] d’ye happen to have seen a kid in an old corderoy jacket [etc.].
[US]J. London Road 84: We became pretty chummy, [...] He called me ‘Jack,’ and I called him ‘Jack.’.
[US]E.E. Cummings Enormous Room (1928) 56: Hey Jack, give me a cigarette, Jack.
[US]H. Miller Tropic of Cancer (1963) 279: Under my breath I simply said, ‘Fuck you, Jack!’ and let it go at that.
[US]R. Chandler Big Sleep 55: He looked me over. ‘Cop?’ ‘Private.’ He grinned. ‘My meat, Jack.’.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 99: Mmmmmmm, that sure smells good, Jack.
[UK]C. Harris Three-Ha’Pence to the Angel 160: A world pungent with the smoke of Woods [...] where physical contacts were virtually unconscious, ‘mate’ and ‘Jack’ obligatory.
[US]N. Heard Howard Street 36: Ain’t nothin’, jack. I seen you around.
[US]E. Torres Carlito’s Way 18: They got to kill me, Jack, kill me!
[US]T. Wolfe Bonfire of the Vanities 289: Then where you from, Jack?
[US]N. McCall Makes Me Wanna Holler (1995) 254: A foot in the door, jack, that’s all I want.
[US]N. Tosches Where Dead Voices Gather (ms.) 239: And that’s a fack, Jack.
[US]E. Weiner Drop Dead, My Lovely (2005) 45: Fuck, you’re psycho, Jack.

5. (Anglo-Ind.) a sepoy.

[Ind]F.J. Bellew ‘Memoirs of a Griffin’ in Asiatic Jrnl & Mthly Register May 52: [O]ur new kummadan (commandant) [...] dumcows (bullies) the native officers, and gallees (abuses) the Jacks (sepoys).
[Ind]Bellew Memoirs of a Griffin I 262: These are the men who square best with Jack Sepoy’s notions of a proper commander [...] It’s splendid to hear the colonel talk to the Jacks; he understands them thoroughly.

6. (US, also country jack) a rustic, a peasant; a simpleton [underpinned by jake n.1 (1)].

[US]G.W. Harris Sut Lovingood’s Yarns 108: An’ he wer a jack, ove the longes’ year’d kine.
[UK]Eve. Teleg. (Dundee) 13 Oct. 6/3: Every village has its Jack, but no village ever had quite so fine a Jack as ours.
[US]Shoemaker 1300 Words 33: Jack — A simple fellow, a yokel [DARE].
[US] A.G. Day ‘How to Talk in Hawaii’ AS XXVI:1 26: Some pidgin words have an archaic English flavor: humbug, country jack (jake), and rascal.
[US] in DARE.

7. see jack tar n.2

In compounds

jack blunt (n.)

a blunt person.

[UK]Polwart Invectiues Capitane Allexander Montgomeree and Pollvart in Parkinson (Poems) (2000) IX line 58: Iok Blunt, thrawin frunt, kis the cunt of ane kow.
[UK]Worcs. Chron. 24 Sept. 3/1: Jack Blunt once loved a maid whose with terracotta might compare. ‘My heart beats for you,’ he said. ‘No matter if your hair is red.’ [...] And he got left.
[UK]Daily News 17 Nov. 5/4: He was at once a Jack Blunt and equal to a trick .
jack boots (n.)

the ‘boots’ or bootboy at an inn.

[UK]Censor 1 Mar. 31: Six-pence to the chamber-maid, six-pence to the ostler, and six-pence to the jack-boot [OED].
[UK]Newcastle Mag. Mar. 128/1: We call him ‘Boots’, and from the habit of giving a common Christian name to all persons who attend in inns[...] Jack Boots, by which appellation he yet goes amongst old travellers.
[UK]Truthteller 10 Nov. 202: The person who refused to admit me on that day,'was no other than a waiter, or jack boots, at the tavern.
jack bragger (n.) (also jack brag)

a boaster, a braggart.

[UK]J. Withals Dictionarie in Eng. and Latine n.p.: Jack Bragger and his fellow, [...] a Cracker.
[UK]Morn. Chron. (London) 15 May 6/6: Our readers are probably acquainted with the character of Mr Hook’s ‘Jack Brag’.
[UK]Devizes & Wilts. Gaz. 30 Mar. 4/2: Jack Brag [...] is the Parolles or Boabdil of low life [...] By sheer effrontery, tricks, and lying he is enabled to mix with persons in a higher sphere.
jack fool (n.) [the term survived in 1940s Kansas dial.]

a foolish person.

[UK]Chaucer Miller’s Tale line 3708: Go fro the window, Iakke fool.
[UK]J. Taylor ‘Iacke a Lent’ in Works (1869) I 113: To praise the Turnspit Iacke my Muse is mum, / Nor the entertainment of Iacke Drum [...] Nor of Jack Dog, Jack Dale / Jack Fool or Jack-a-Dandy I relate.
[Ire]Cork Examiner 30 Dec. 2/5: John Collins, a well-known character, better known by the soubriquet of ‘Jack the Fool’.
[UK]Lincs. Chron. 25 Aug. 3/4: You may sweat, you may growl, you may grunt' you may be a jack-fool if you must [...] but don’t take your troubles to bed.
jack gentleman (n.)

a man of low birth or manners who has pretensions to be a gentleman, an insolent fellow, an upstart.

[UK]W. Lilly Monarchy or No Monarchy 100: This fellow [...] sayd openly , he hoped to live and see the time , when a Mr. of Arts or a Minister, should be as good a man as any Jack Gentleman in England.
[UK]Answer to the Question out of North 13: What, Sir, do you think that it is fit for every Jack-Gentleman to speak thus to a Bishop? [OED].
[UK]S. Parker Reproof to Rehearsal Transposed 480: Such (especially if they are broken Gamesters) I still say are no better than Jack Gentlemen.
[UK]Answer to Sacheverell’s Sermon 9: In the time of King Charles [...] they despised the Gentry at such a rate, that it was a common thing to call them Jack Gentleman .
[UK]T. Gordon Character of an Indep. Whig 6: This upstart, plebeian Priest, hoped to see the Time, when ne'er a Jack Gentleman in England would dare to stand before a Parson with his Hat on.
jack gentlewoman (n.)

a large masculine woman.

[UK]‘Peter Pindar’ ‘Ode Upon Ode’ Works (1794) I 438: No galloping horse-godmothers for me [...] Yet men there are (how strange are Love’s decrees!) Whose palates e’en Jack-Gentlewomen please.
jack-hold-my-staff (n.)

a fool.

[UK]New Brawle 13: Prether tell me Jack Hold-my Staffe, did cripple-breech’d Bess wash it, or Bobbing Kate.
[UK]Behn Sir Patient Fancy V i: Madam, in plain English, I am made a John-a-Nokes of, Jack-hold-my-staff, a Merry Andrew.
jack mum (n.) [mum adj.]

(Irish) a discreet person; esp. in the phr. between you and me and jack mum.

[Ire]‘Myles na gCopaleen’ Best of Myles (1968) 50: Between yourself, meself and Jack Mum, Charley is a little bit given to the glawsheen.
jack nasty (n.)

a sneaking, slovenly person.

[UK]Western Times 25 Feb. 8/1: Draw sinners from the seat where sits the scorner, / And turn jack Nasty to a nice Jack Horner.
[UK]T. Hughes Tom Brown’s School-Days 67: Tom [...] went on playing with the village boys, without the idea of equality or inequality [...] ever entering their heads, as it doesn’t till it’s put there by Jack Nastys or fine ladies’ maids.
[UK]Sheffield Indep. 2 July 3/6: Every youngster with a spare pound or two in his pocket must have his valet or other Jack Nasty fiddling after him.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
jack nasty face (n.) [punning on the general use, ‘a dirty fellow, seldom seen’ (J.Bee). Note merchant navy jargon jack nasty face, a cook’s assistant, or anyone considered ugly]

the vagina.

[[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Jack nasty face, a sea expression signifying a common sailor].
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 103: Jack nasty-face — a dirty fellow, seldom seen; but ‘going up Holborn-hill [...] a lady from St. Bartholemew’s took a lee lurch, and threw a ground summerset backwards, when all might plainly discern Jack nasty face’.
jack papish (n.) (also Jack Priest)

a derog. term for a Roman Catholic.

[UK] in D’Urfey Pills to Purge Melancholy I 204: King William [...] made Jack papishes run.
[UK]G. Borrow Romany Rye I 326: Why, that red-haired Jack Priest, and that idiotic parson.
jack pudding (n.) [innate humour of a SE pudding]

a jester or clown, travelling with a mountebank or itinerant quack .

[UK]C. Walker Hist. Independ. I 21: The Junto-men, the Hocus-Pocusses, the State-Mountebanks, with their Zanyes and Jack-puddings! [OED].
[UK]Mercurius Fumigosus 14 30 Aug.–6 Sept. 126: Her son learnt this Art, when he was a Sea-boy, only was a little since taught some Pretty Tricks by a Jack-pudding neer Lung-Lane.
[UK]Etherege Love In A Tub III iv: Sir, in a word, he was Jack-pudding to a Mountebank, And turn’d off for want of wit.
[UK]Wycherley Love in a Wood I i: But a pox he is a meer Buffoon, a Jack-pudding let me perish.
[UK]Fumblers-Hall 9: Jone Would-have-more: [He] falls to kissing me, & with a few other Jack Puddings tricks, thinks that sufficient satisfaction.
[UK]Behn Rover V i: I should not have shew’d my self like a Jack-Pudding, thus to have made you Mirth.
[UK]T. Shadwell Bury Fair II i: Yes, he has found Wit in a Jack Pudding.
[UK]N. Ward London Spy II 47: A Mountebank and his Jack-Pudding [...] could not give more Content to a Crowd of Country Spectators.
[UK]N. Ward Rambling Fuddle-Caps 11: The compleatest Jack-pudding that we e’er saw before.
[UK] in D’Urfey Pills to Purge Melancholy III 8: And what’s Jack Pudding that makes us to Laugh, / Unless he has got a great Custard to quaff.
[UK]Swift Gulliver Decypher’d 46: Many a gaping Fellow is entertain’d with the Wit of Jack-pudding in Smithfield.
[UK]Laugh and Be Fat 150: To the Taverns some go / And some to a Show, / See [...] Jack Puddings, For Cuddens.
[UK]‘Capt. Samuel Cock’ Voyage to Lethe 24: He has likewise a Couple of clumsy Englishmen in his Service, who act in the Capacity of Jack Puddings.
[UK]Foote Author in Works (1799) I 157: A jack-pudding! that takes fillips on the nose for six-pence a piece!
[UK]G. Stevens ‘The Dream’ Songs Comic and Satyrical 13: So Jack Puddings joke, with distorted grimace, / Benetting their Gudgeons, – the Croud.
[UK]Northampton Mercury 31 May 2/2: To the Jack-Pudding Junto; or Market-Harborough Buffoons.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Bon Ton Mag. Mar. 35/1: ‘Pugh,’ says Old Surly, ‘I shall now expect / To see Jack Pudding treated with respect.’.
[UK]Sporting Mag. May XVIII 105/2: Whenever Punch was absent, the Merry-Andrew or Jack-Pudding, amused the audience with a speech.
[UK]B. Bradshaw Hist. of Billy Bradshaw 25: I put in a word for myself and offered to be his Merry Andrew or Jack Pudding.
[UK]C. Dibdin Yngr Larks of Logic, Tom and Jerry I ii: We laugh at [...] the tricks of the mountebank’s jack-pudding – because we despise the folly, and pity the fool.
[UK] ‘The Leech of Folkestone’ Bentley’s Misc. July 106: The features were feline, but their expression that of the Jack-Pudding.
[US]W.G. Simms Border Beagles (1855) 332: Our Jack Pudding! — our fellow for broad grin and buffoonery!
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 24 Oct. 2/2: [This action] had great effect, and won for the jack pudding abundant eclat.
[UK]G.A. Sala Gaslight and Daylight 17: (at a pantomime) Exultingly watch the Clown through his nefarious career; roar at Jack-pudding tumbling.
[UK]Rochdale Obs. 20 Jan. 5/1: It may gratify the taste of this venal writer [...] to call Mr potter a ‘Jack Pudding’.
[UK]in Ebsworth Bagford Ballads I 867: We suppose Serini to have been a contemporary Jack-Pudding, and fire-eater.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 5 Nov. 8/4: [T]ell him (while you are rubbing his nose, &c) that the questions toIacke a Lent be settled at the coming elections are too momentous for Jack Puddings and professional tricksters to be allowed to draw their dirty cloaks over them.
[US]Hawaiian Star (Honolulu) 2 Apr. 4/1: Members neither come here to laugh, nor to make jack-puddings of themselves.
[UK](con. WWI) Fraser & Gibbons Soldier and Sailor Words 114: Hans Wurst: (German — wurst – sausage).The popular German nickname for a German infantryman [...] ‘Hans Wurst’ is a derisory term ordinarily, equivalent to ‘Silly Billy’, ‘Silly Johnny’, or the former-day ‘Jack Pudding’.
jack-rat (n.)

(UK Und.) a sneak-thief.

[UK]Duncombe New and Improved Flash Dict. n.p.: Jack-rats thieves who contrive to slip into and conceal themselves in people’s houses, and when all the family is gone to rest, let in their accomplices and rob the house.
jack sauce (n.)

a saucy or impudent fellow.

[UK]R. Edwards Damon and Pithias (1571) Fi: Here is a gaye worlde, Boyes now settes olde men to scoole, I sayd well enough, what Jacke sauce, thinkst cham a foole?
[UK]Misogonus in Farmer (1906) II iii: liturg.: The Scripture so saith. cac.: The Scripture, you Jack Sauce!
[UK]Three Ladies of London II: Come, sir Jack-sauce, make quick despatch at once.
[UK]Shakespeare Henry V IV vii: If he be perjured, see you now, his reputation is as arrant a villain, and a Jack-sauce, as ever his black shoe trod upon God’s ground.
[UK]J. Cooke How A Man May Choose A Good Wife From A Bad Act IV: Why, you Iacke sawce, you Cuckold you what-not.
[UK]N. Field Woman is a Weathercock II i: What say ye, Jack Sauce?
[UK]T. Heywood Captives I ii: Jhon, y’are a Jack sauce, I meane a sawcye Jacke.
[UK]Massinger City-Madam IV ii: Do you so, Jack sauce?
[UK]A. Cowley Cutter of Coleman-street (1721) 745: Sure I am the older Man, Jack Sawce, and should be the wiser!
[UK] in D’Urfey Comical Hist. of Don Quixote Pt 2 IV iii: How now, Jack Sawce! must come away!
[UK]Vanbrugh False Friend Act III: Why how now Jack Sauce? why how now Presumption?
[UK] in D’Urfey Pills to Purge Melancholy V 287: A sword and buckler good and strong, To give jack-sauce a rap.
[UK]W. Scott Heart of Mid-Lothian (1883) 339: Well, Mr. Jack-Sauce, and what is your business to put in your oar?
[UK]Manchester Eve. News 5 July 2/4: Henry Sherrington, alias ‘Jack Rat’, of Wigan, was charged.
jack stickler (n.)

a meddlesome or interfering person, a busybody.

[UK]L. Tomson Calvin’s Sermons to Timothie and Titus 853/2: Howe many iacke sticklers are there nowe adayes thou they be but ignorant and vnlearned [...] will needes shewe them selues to be somwhat by mouing troubles?
[UK]Horn & Robotham (trans.) Gate of Languages Unlocked Ch. 86 837: A prying medler (busie-body, jack-stickler) crouds in and intrudeth [...] where it nothing concernes him.
jack straw (n.) [ref. to Jack Straw, leader of the failed Peasants’ Revolt, 1381]

a nonentity, lit. a ‘man of straw’.

[UK]R. Taverner Proverbes or Adagie of Erasmus xix Ciii: It becometh not Jacke Strawe to reason of princes maters.
[UK] ‘Revels at Lincoln’s Inn’ in J. Nichols Progresses and Processions of Queen Elizabeth (1888) I 26: Lastly, that Jack Straw, and all his adherents should be thenceforth utterly banished.
[UK]New Custom I i: As fit a sighte it were to see a goose shodde, or a sadled cowe, As to heare the pratlinge of any suche iacke strawe.
[UK]Polwart Invectiues Capitane Allexander Montgomeree and Pollvart in Parkinson (Poems) (2000) IV line 31: Iak stro, be better anes ingynit Or I will flyt aganis my sell.
[UK]Nashe Praise of the Red Herring 70: It shall be but the weight of a strawe, or the weight of Iacke Straw more.
[UK]Milton Defence of the People of England (1692) Pref. xviii: Thou dolt [...] and a Jack-straw, who dependest on the good will of thy Masters for a poor Stipend.
[UK] ‘The Parliament-Complement’ Rump Poems and Songs (1662) II 169: Original sin was damn’d by the Law, / The Son of a Cavalier made a Jack-straw.
[UK]Wycherley Love in a Wood I i: Know ’em, you are a sawcy Jack-straw to question me, (faith and troth) I know every body and every body knows me.
[UK]Otway Soldier’s Fortune IV i: Therefore are you to be murdered to-night [...] you Jack Straw, you.
jack weight (n.)

1. in pl., the testicles.

1652 Laughing Mercury 8-16 Sept. 178: The very Jack made Musick to the flesh upon the spit [...] til,. the Jack-waits broak their twatling-strings for joy.
‘Peter Aretine’ Strange Newes 3: Wand. Wh—. [I] receive the Spanish Rogue into my French quarters, where he turn’d the Pig so long till one of his best members was lost in the dripping pan, yet the Jack-weights are secure and hang fast still.

2. a fat man.

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum.
[UK]E. de la Bédollière Londres et les Anglais 315/2: jack weight, homme corpulent.
jack-whore (n.) (also jack mot) [mot n. (1)]

1. a large, tough prostitute .

[UK]Sham Beggar I i: Now, Daddy, I advise you to go and pick up a damn’d large Jack Whore, and spend One Shilling upon her.
[UK]Nancy Dawson’s Jests 36: From the luscious tit bit to the bouncing jack whore, / From the bunters in rags to the gay pompadore.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK] ‘Nanny, The Frisky’ in Flash Casket 75: The blowens of Holborn, can’t grind, / The jack mots of Wapping, might any work do.
[UK]W. Holloway Dict. of Provincialisms 90/1: A common woman of the most vulgar description a ‘Jack-Whore’.

2. a womanizer.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 609/1: mid-C.19–early 20.

In phrases

jack-at-a-pinch (n.)

1. a temporary clergyman, hired when the regular incumbent is absent.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Jack at a Pinch, a poor Hackney Parson.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]B.M. Carew Life and Adventures.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Jack at a pinch, a poor hackney parson.
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Flash Dict.
[UK]G. Kent Modern Flash Dict.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open.

2. one who is required only in an emergency or as a gapstop; thus an insignificant person.

[US]S. Woodworth Forest Rose II iv: I won’t dance with any fellow Jack-at-pinch. [Ibid.] I will take no girl Jack-at-a-pinch. Tom Clover won’t have you, and I think myself as good as he.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. (2nd edn).
[UK]Birmingham Dly Post 25 Dec. 2/7: Jack-at-a-Pinch had hard work to carry him upstairs and put him to bed.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
[UK]Eve. Teleg. (Dundee) 19 Feb. 5/6: Jack-at-a-pinch is the name given to anyone who leds a hand in an emergency.

3. an odd-job man.

[UK]B.M. Carew Life and Adventures.
jack in the pulpit (n.) [SE pulpit, i.e. one who sets themselves up as a preacher, lit. or fig.]

a pretender, an upstart.

[US]Chicago Trib. 29 May n.p.: The latest contribution to the history of the Rebellion is from the pen of that eminent truth-teller, Don Piatt. In ‘Reminiscences of Abraham Lincoln,’ between the covers of which he has been allowed to obtrude, he says of himself: ‘My one act made Maryland a free State.’ Of Mr. Lincoln he says: ‘The President never forgave me.’ That was because you escaped his memory entirely, Mr. Jackin-the pulpit [B&L].
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
jack in the water (n.)

a waterman’s attendant, who helps passengers on and off boats.

[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor II 225/1: I ran away and tried my hand at a Jack-in-the-water.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict. 160: jack-in-the-water, an attendant at the watermen’s stairs on the river and sea-port towns, who does not mind wetting his feet for a customer’s convenience, in consideration of a douceur.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
[UK](con. 1835–40) P. Herring Bold Bendigo 112: He had practically lived by his fists ever since he began life as a ‘jack-in-the-water’ on the Thames.
jack of clubs (n.)

(US) a good fellow, man.

[UK]J. Wetherell Adventures of John Wetherell (1954) 27 Apr. 39: That evening Lieutenant Barker or in other words the bold Jack of Clubs made a visit on board.
[US]‘Edmund Kirke’ Down in Tennessee 109: Tom, you are a trump – the very Jack of clubs.
[US]F.P. Dunne in Schaaf Mr Dooley’s Chicago (1977) 260: That grand ol’ jack iv clubs, th’ Hon. Jawn Im Pammer.
jack of dover (n.)

a Dover sole.

[UK] Quip for an Upstart Courtier in Harleian Misc. (1809) 244: To praise the Turnspit Iacke my Muse is mum, / Nor the entertainment of Iacke Drum / [...] / Nor Iacke of Douer that Grand Iury Iacke, / Nor Iacke Sawce (the worst knaue mongst the packe).
[UK]Fuller Worthies (1840) II 125: A jack of Dover. I find the first mention of this proverb in our English Ennius, Chaucer, in his poem to the cook: ‘And many a jack of Dover he had sold, / Which had been two times hot, and two times cold’.
jack of legs (n.) [folk legend of Jack of Legs, a supposed giant, some 3m (14ft) tall, who is allegedly buried in the churchyard at Weston, Hertfordshire. A large thigh bone, excavated in the graveyard, was given to the naturalist Sir John Tradescant (1608–62)]

1. a tall, long-legged man.

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[US]Trumble Sl. Dict. (1890).

2. an outsize clasp-knife.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 608/1: C.18–19.
jack of the clockhouse (n.) [SE jack of the clockhouse, which ‘goes upon screws, and his office is to do nothing but strike’; the actual jack was a figure of a man which strikes the bell on the outside of a clock]

(UK Und.) a confidence trickster, specializing in selling supposedly purpose-written pamphlets, poems etc, which flatter the vanity of the purchaser but which are, in fact, mass-produced with a personalized dedication tacked on.

[UK]Dekker Lanthorne and Candle-Light Ch. 6: There is another Fraternitie of wandring Pilgrimes, who merrily call themselves Iackes of the Clocke-house, and are verry neere allyed to the Falconers that went a Hawking before [...] The lacke of a Clocke-house goes uppon Skrewes, and his office is to do nothing but strike: so does this noise, (for they walke up and downe like Fidlers) trauaile with Motions; and whatsoever their Motions get them, is called striking. Those Motions are certaine Collections, or witty Inuentions, some-times of one thing, and then of an other.
[UK]Rowlands Martin Mark-all 7: Up starts a ragged ouer roasted Iacke of the Clocke-house.
jack-the-wrong-man (n.)

(UK Und.) a policeman.

[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 65/1: In a moment after the ‘office’ was given, the ‘jigger’ was ‘slewed,’ and barricaded by half-a-dozen of determined ‘guns’ who were resolute that no Jack-the-wrong-man should enter there that night.
single-jack (n.)

(US tramp) a one-legged, one-armed or one-eyed beggar.

[US]H. Johnson in Atlantic Monthly Dec. 773/1: The detested single-jacks were relegated to a Bowery within a Bowery.