Tuesday 10 March 2009

Vocab: Jack

Actually, the same colleague asked me why Jack is in the proverb, and I told her,
"Well, I guess Jack kind of give people a feeling of knowing a lot."

When I said that, of course, I had a few examples in my mind to give to support me view.

First, there is a saying,
Jack-of-all-trades, master of none.
It is used to say someone knows many things, but is very good at none of them. This is one that I would use to describe myself.

And if you just do a little search in the dictionary, you can easily find a lot more meanings. You can click on the words for definitions or pictures (credits given to all contributors but myself):
  1. 'Jack-of-all-trades' without the later part is a positive noun to say someone who can do different jobs.
  2. 'A car jack' is used to lift up a car for fixing.
  3. To 'jack sth up' is to lift up sth heavy with a jack. e.g. ~ the car.
  4. To 'jack sth up' is also an informal phrasal verb meaning to lift up the price greatly and suddenly. e.g. ~ the price of pork.
  5. 'Jack' is a playing card with a letter J and a man in it. It is after '10' and before 'Q'.
  6. 'Jack' is a small ball in a rolling ball game.
  7. 'Jack' is a device connecting 2 other electrical devices.
  8. 'Jack Frost' is a baby word to describe very cold weather.
  9. To 'jack-knife' is to make a bend that looks like a pocket multi-knives.
  10. 'Jack-knife' is of course the multi-knife itself.
  11. 'Jack-in-the-box' is a children's toy that has a toy jumping out from a box when opens.
  12. 'Jack-o'-lantern' is a lantern made with pumpkin for Holloween.
  13. 'Jack plug' is a connector from one electrical device to another. See picture.
  14. To 'jack sth in' is an UK informal phrasal verb which means to stop doing sth that you do not enjoy. e.g. ~ his job.
(I hope you are fine with my rephrasing of the definition, hope it makes it easier to grasp.)

Tomorrow, I will look into the meanings of other names with you, but before I do, I think you can see how widely used is this particular name. So even if Jack doesn't carry a real meaning of 'a person who knows a lot', I guess you will agree with me that the word 'Jack' does know how to appear often in the dictionary.

Do you know how to put your name on the dictionary? I don't know. So, 'Jack' knows more than 'Locky' does.

Not to forget the famous figures with the name Jack.

Saying: All work and no play (makes Jack a dull boy)

A couple of days ago, one colleague of mine asked me how to say someone working all the time and never relax, and she said it has the word 'Jack' in it.

I guess many of your have heard of this one like my colleague,

All work and no play (makes Jack a dull boy)

I know the first part, not the second. Well, that doesn't really matter, now I know, but the thing that I find interesting is how widespread this "All ...... and no ......" pattern is and how it has evolved.

For those of you who attended my recent Level 3, I'm sure you still remember the US slang,

All show (and) no go

which is used to describe someone or something that looks good but does not perform as promised.

Eg: That shiny car is actually all show and no go. It runs at a maximum speed of 40 mph.
Eg: Good-looking Jim is all show and no go. At the age of 30, he has never had a girlfriend.

And like I have asked in the class, what is the meaning of

No show (and) all go?

I guess you can tell me right away.

But there's more, because of this pattern, people has expanded it into many other variations such as,
  1. All hat (and) no cattle
  2. All pain (and) no gain
  3. All killer (and) no filler
  4. All paper (and) no news
  5. All atmospherics (and) no climate

So it is obvious to me that there is no restriction as to how you want to create your own version with this pattern. Why not we all try to use some creativity and make some of our own ones? Maybe some day in the future, people will use what you have created as their slang?

"All acceptance and no question makes one a limited learner" -- Locky