Meaning of Jack in the green in English:

Jack in the green

Pronunciation /ˈdʒak ɪn ðə ˌɡriːn/


(also Jack in green)
  • 1At May Day celebrations, formerly especially among chimney sweeps: (a name for) a man or boy wearing a wooden or wicker framework in the shape of a rounded cone or a pyramid, which is decorated with leaves to symbolize seasonal fertility.

  • 2In outdoor shows, pageants, masques, etc.: a man dressed in greenery, representing a wild man of the woods or seasonal fertility.

    In later use often forming part of May Day celebrations.

  • 3Horticulture
    Any variety of primrose or polyanthus in which the segments of the calyx are converted into leaf-like structures.


Late 18th century; earliest use found in Joseph Moser (1748–1819), writer and magistrate. In some forms from Jack + in + the + green.