Do you enjoy being startled? Try playing with a jack-n-the-box. Operated with a crank, this kind of music box plays a little tune until a clown suddenly pops out of an opening in the top. Fun!

A jack-in-the-box can be a bit terrifying, especially to a very small child who's not expecting to see a scary (or smiling) face emerge abruptly from a colorful music box. The history of this strange toy emphasizes its frightening nature. In France, it's called diable en boƮte, or "devil in a box," and is thought to be inspired by a 14th-century English folklore hero who captured the devil in his boot.

Definitions of jack-in-the-box

n plaything consisting of a toy clown that jumps out of a box when the lid is opened

Type of:
plaything, toy
an artifact designed to be played with

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