Jack"straw`(?), n. 1. An effigy stuffed with straw; a scarecrow; hence, a man without property or influence. Milton.
2. One of a set of straws of strips of ivory, bone, wood, etc., for playing a child's game, the jackstraws being thrown confusedly together on a table, to be gathered up singly by a hooked instrument, without touching or disturbing the rest of the pile. See Spilikin. A modern variation, called
pick-up-sticks (U.S. 1940+), is played with thin wooden sticks of different colors, each color having different values for scoring; the sticks are dislodged from the pile with the hand or with one of the sticks.
[1913 Webster +PJC]
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Fri 22nd February 2019