jacks [jaks]
a children's game in which pebbles or small, six-pronged metal pieces are tossed and picked up in various ways, esp. while bouncing a small ball

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also called  jackstones,  fivestones , or  dibs 

      game of great antiquity and worldwide distribution, now played with stones, bones, seeds, filled cloth bags, or metal or plastic counters (the jacks), with or without a ball. The name derives from “chackstones”—stones to be tossed. The knuckle, wrist, or ankle bones (astragals) of goats, sheep, or other animals also have been used in play. Such objects have been found in prehistoric caves in Kiev, Ukraine, and pictures of the game are depicted on jars from ancient Greece.

      In the classic game five or more counters are thrown into the air with one hand, the object being to catch them either in the palm or on the back of that hand. Those so caught count for the player, and those missed count against him. In contemporary games, there have been two developments: one emphasizing skill (as in the modern game of jacks, or jackstones) and the other, the accumulation of as many counters as possible.

      In the United States and Canada jacks is primarily a children's game played with six to 12 or more six-pronged iron or plastic jacks and a small ball. After the jacks are strewn on the floor, the player tosses the ball into the air and then tries with one hand to pick up the jacks and catch the ball, usually before it bounces. If the player fails in this, the turn passes to the next player. The game becomes increasingly difficult; first, one jack has to be picked up, then two at a time, next three, and, finally, all must be grasped in the hand before the ball is caught. Increasingly complex moves are often introduced.

      In parts of central Europe girls play the classic game using six seeds. Players perform each maneuver first with the right hand, then with the left hand.

      In Egypt children use no more than 10 apricot seeds for each player. Players in turn scatter all but one of the seeds, toss that one into the air, and snatch as many as possible from those on the ground before catching the falling seed. The winner is the one who amasses the most seeds.

      Jewish girls of eastern Europe traditionally played ghop bagi with five bones. On the first play, from the bones scattered on the ground or carpet, one was tossed up and the other four garnered before it fell. In the second play of the set, three were on the floor and two in the air; in the third, two on the carpet and three in the air; and in the last, one was on the floor and four in the air.

      In Japan and in China a similar game is played using cloth bags filled with rice, sand, or beans. The player drops the bags on a table, picks up one and tosses it aloft; while it is aloft he tries to pick up a bag from the table. He then holds this in his hand and repeats the play in an attempt to pick up and retain all the bags.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • jacks — [jaks] n. [< JACKSTONE] a children s game in which pebbles or small, six pronged metal pieces are tossed and picked up in various ways, esp. while bouncing a small ball …   English World dictionary

  • Jacks — For the musical group of same name, see Jacks (1960s Japanese band). Jackrock redirects here. For device used to damage tires, see Caltrop. A set of jacks Jacks (sometimes called jackstones, jackrocks, fivestones, onesies, knucklebones, or snobs) …   Wikipedia

  • Jacks — Terry Jacks (* 29. März 1944 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Kanada) ist ein kanadischer Sänger und Plattenproduzent. 1968 gründete er mit seiner späteren Frau Susan Pesklevits (* 1948), von der er 1973 wieder geschieden wurde, The Poppy Family, die sich… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • jacks — n. to play (a game of) jacks * * * to play (a game of) jacks …   Combinatory dictionary

  • jacks — n. game in which jacks are picked up in a specific sequence between bouncing or throwing and catching a rubber ball dʒæk n. mechanical device for raising great weights; playing card with the figure of a knave; electrical socket; ship s flag;… …   English contemporary dictionary

  • jacks — noun a game in which jackstones are thrown and picked up in various groups between bounces of a small rubber ball • Syn: ↑jackstones, ↑knucklebones • Hypernyms: ↑child s game * * * plural of jack present third singular of jack …   Useful english dictionary

  • jacks — Jackstone Jack stone , n. 1. One of the pebbles or pieces used in the game of jackstones. [1913 Webster] 2. (pl.) A game played with five small stones or pieces of metal. See 6th {Chuck}. Also called {jacks}. See {jack}[12], n. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • jacks — carangid carangid n. any fish of the family {Carangidae}, including the {cavallas}, {jacks}, {pompanos} and {scads}. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Jacks — This uncommon surname is of early medieval English origin, and is a patronymic form of either one of two male given names, Jacob or John. Jacob derives from the Hebrew aqob meaning supplanter or, following after . In the Bible, this is the name… …   Surnames reference

  • jacks — I Everyday English Slang in Ireland n toilet II Irish Slang toilet, restroom III Mawdesley Glossary a game played by girls with a marble and pottery jacks …   English dialects glossary

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