Jack-o-lantern meaning

jăkə-lăntərn
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A lantern made from a hollowed pumpkin with a carved face, usually displayed on Halloween.
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A hollow pumpkin cut to look like a face and usually illuminated inside as by a candle, used as a decoration at Halloween.
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A carved pumpkin whose top and stem have been cut out and interior removed, leaving a hollow shell that is then decorated to represent a face, illuminated from within by a candle.
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(archaic) A will o' the wisp.
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(idiomatic, English folklore) Will o' the wisp, a strange light that attracts travellers.
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(US, tradition) A vegetable, usually a pumpkin, but alternatively a turnip, carved into the form of a face and lighted within by a candle. Associated chiefly with the holiday Halloween.
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Origin of jack-o-lantern

  • From earlier Jack-with-a-lantern man with a lantern, will-o'-the-wisp

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • Jack (“male given name”) + o' + lantern. Attested as a term for ignis fatuus in English folklore in the 1660s, mostly in East Anglia but also in southwestern England. The sense of carved pumpkin in American English is attested in 1834.

    From Wiktionary

  • Originally, a night watchman who carried a lantern. (See Jack)

    From Wiktionary