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jack (8)

noun Conversion
A prank or practical joke, especially one performed by a college or multiple colleges at Rice University, usually on another college.
 
The word jack has many meanings that span a lot of very different ideas. This particular use of the term most likely arose most directly from the meaning found in the phrase “jack with” as in “He was totally just jacking with her,” which means to mess with someone, to joke with or play a joke on someone. This is very similar to the idea of a practical joke. Additionally, you can often “jack with” someone's stuff, and practical jokes at Rice usually incorporate the belongings of another college in some fashion. The word coiner likely noticed these similarities and decided that converting “jack” to a noun to describe these practical jokes was a reasonable linguistic change. I have never heard this term outside of Rice so I believe that it originated here, but it would be interesting to see if the word is used in this fashion anywhere else.
Etymology : Conversion of the verb “jack” (as used in the phrase “jack with”) to use as noun.
Source : “Dude, the jack on Jones last night was epic!” (friend, March 2011)
Last modified: 30 November 2011


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