n. & v.
n. 1 a container, usu. with flat sides and of firm material such as wood or card, esp. for holding solids. 2 a the amount that will fill a box. b Brit. a gift of a kind formerly given to tradesmen etc. at Christmas. 3 a separate compartment for any of various purposes, e.g. for a small group in a theatre, for witnesses in a lawcourt, for horses in a stable or vehicle. 4 an enclosure or receptacle for a special purpose (often in comb. : money box; telephone box). 5 a facility at a newspaper office for receiving replies to an advertisement. 6 (prec. by the) colloq. television; one's television set (what's on the box?). 7 an enclosed area or space. 8 a space or area of print on a page, enclosed by a border. 9 Brit. a small country house for use when shooting, fishing, or for other sporting activity. 10 a protective casing for a piece of mechanism. 11 a light shield for protecting the genitals in sport, esp. in cricket. 12 (prec. by the) Football colloq. the penalty area. 13 Baseball the area occupied by the batter or the pitcher. 14 a coachman's seat.
v.tr. 1 put in or provide with a box. 2 (foll. by in, up) confine; restrain from movement. 3 (foll. by up) Austral. & NZ mix up (different flocks of sheep). box camera a simple box-shaped hand camera. box the compass Naut. recite the points of the compass in the correct order. box girder a hollow girder square in cross-section. box junction Brit. a road area at a junction marked with a yellow grid, which a vehicle should enter only if its exit from it is clear. box kite a kite in the form of a long box open at each end. box number a number by which replies are made to a private advertisement in a newspaper. box office 1 an office for booking seats and buying tickets at a theatre, cinema, etc. 2 the commercial aspect of the arts and entertainment (often attrib. : a box-office failure). box pleat a pleat consisting of two parallel creases forming a raised band. box spanner a spanner with a box-shaped end fitting over the head of a nut. box spring each of a set of vertical springs housed in a frame, e.g. in a mattress. boxful n. (pl. -fuls). boxlike adj.
[ OE f. LL buxis f. L PYXIS ]