jackpot

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English[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

Attested as jack-pot (big prize), 1944; from sense "slot machine" (1932), from obsolete poker sense (1881) "antes that begin when no player has a pair of jacks or better"; from jack (playing card) + pot.

Noun[edit]

jackpot (plural jackpots)

  1. A money prize pool which accumulates until the conditions are met for it to be won.
    • 2000, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, Choices, values, and frames,
      If no player picks all six numbers correctly, the jackpot is rolled over and added to the next week's jackpot; several weeks of rollovers can build up jackpots up to $350 million or more.
  2. A large cash prize or money.
  3. An unexpected windfall or reward.
Usage notes[edit]
  • By metonymy, jackpot is also the word for several types of poker which feature jackpots (prize pools which accumulate until won).
    • 1920, F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise,
      ... they played red-dog and twenty-one and jackpot from dinner to dawn, and on the occasion of one man's birthday persuaded him to buy sufficient champagne for a hilarious celebration.
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Unknown. Criminal slang usage as "trouble, especially an arrest" attested 1902.

Noun[edit]

jackpot (plural jackpots)

  1. (Western US) A difficult situation.
    • 1904, C. A. Boose, “letter”, The Railway Conductor, volume XXI: 
      and if you are not next to the ways and customs, the first thing you know you are in a jackpot so big four one spots would not be openers. I don't know what that last expression means, but I heard a fellow use it, and he was talking about a fellow that was in a very bad fix.
    • 1941, Agnes Morley Cleaveland, No life for a lady‎, page 284:
      "I'm in a jackpot." Sympathy shone from those friendly eyes at once. "It's shore too bad for a lady to be in a jackpot," he answered me earnestly.
    • 2005, Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men, page 86:
      You're already in a jackpot, he said. I'm tryin to get you out of it.
  2. A jumble of felled timber.
    • 1912 June 18, Supreme Court of Washington, “HENDRICKSON v. SIMPSON LOGGING CO.”, The Pacific reporter‎, page 395: 
      It frequently happens that trees fall across one another, forming what is known as a jackpot. A number of trees may fall in a single jackpot. One of the tools with which appellant claims a bucker should be provided is an undercutter rigging. When trees are in a jackpot, the proper method of procedure is to first cut the lower tree, and then the upper one. This lessens the liability of an upper log rolling or falling upon the workman while he Is engaged in cutting the lower tree. The cut of the lower tree is ordinarily made by sawing it from the upper side, but, when its position produces a strain which pinches the saw, it is sawed from the under side by what is known as an undercut. To make an undercut, it is necessary to have some appliance to support the moving saw which is then operated teeth upward. The appliance which appellant contends Is ordinarily used is known as an undercutter rigging. Having no undercutter rigging, appellant requested respondent's foreman to provide one, complaining that his work in a jackpot of large trees without one was unsafe and dangerous.