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.
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.