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Box vs. Case: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
A box is typically a container with a flat base and sides, often square or rectangular, whereas a case is a broader term, referring to any container, cover, or enclosure, often used for protection or storage.
Box vs. Case

Key Differences

A box is generally a rigid, rectangular container made of materials like cardboard, wood, or metal, used for storage or transport. In contrast, a case can be any type of container, often designed for specific items or purposes, like a suitcase for clothes or a case for musical instruments.
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Nov 12, 2023
Boxes are commonly associated with everyday storage and packaging, often featuring a lid or flaps for closure. Cases, however, imply a higher level of protection or specialization, like a phone case or a briefcase.
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In terms of design, boxes are typically simple and functional, with standard shapes. Cases are often tailored with specific features like padding, pockets, or compartments, catering to particular needs.
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The term 'box' can also refer to a bounded space in diagrams or layouts, while 'case' can denote an instance or example, as in legal or medical cases.
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In usage, 'box' often conveys a sense of routine or regularity, as in a subscription box, whereas 'case' can imply a scenario requiring attention or action, such as in a use-case or test-case.
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Comparison Chart

Primary Function

Storage and packaging
Protection and specialized containment
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Material Composition

Often rigid materials like cardboard or wood
Varies widely, often tailored for protection (e.g., plastic, leather)
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Shape and Design

Usually square or rectangular, simple design
Often contoured or fitted for specific items or purposes
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Common Uses

Shipping, storage, gift packaging
Carrying personal items, protecting gadgets, special purposes (e.g., instrument cases)
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Linguistic Usage

Can denote a bounded space or category
Can imply an instance, scenario, or example
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Box and Case Definitions

Box

A container with a flat base and sides, typically square or rectangular.
She packed her books in a cardboard box.
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Case

A container designed to hold or protect something.
He carried his guitar in a hard case.
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Box

A separate section or area for a specific purpose in a theater or sports ground.
They watched the game from a luxury box.
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Case

An instance of a particular situation; an example.
The detective studied the case carefully.
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Box

A small cubicle or compartment, like a telephone box.
He stepped into the phone box to make a call.
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Case

A situation requiring investigation or action.
The health department is investigating the outbreak case.
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Box

To enclose or confine within or as if within a box.
The new policy tends to box in the creative process.
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Case

An instance or occurrence of a particular kind or category
A case of mistaken identity.
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Box

A container typically constructed with four sides perpendicular to the base and often having a lid or cover.
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Case

An occurrence of a disease or disorder
A mild case of flu.
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Box

The amount or quantity that such a container can hold.
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Case

A set of circumstances or a state of affairs; a situation
It may rain, in which case the hike will be canceled.
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Box

A square or rectangle
Draw a box around your answer.
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Case

Actual fact; reality
We suspected the walls were hollow, and this proved to be the case.
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Box

A separated compartment in a public place of entertainment, such as a theater or stadium, for the accommodation of a small group.
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Case

A question or problem; a matter
It is simply a case of honor.
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Box

An area of a public place, such as a courtroom or stadium, marked off and restricted for use by persons performing a specific function
A jury box.
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Case

A situation that requires investigation, especially by a formal or official body.
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Box

A small structure serving as a shelter
A sentry box.
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Case

An action or a suit or just grounds for an action.
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Box

Chiefly British A small country house used as a sporting lodge
A shooting box.
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Case

The facts or evidence offered in support of a claim.
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Box

A box stall.
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Case

A set of reasons or supporting facts; an argument
Presented a good case for changing the law.
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Box

The raised seat for the driver of a coach or carriage.
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Case

A person being assisted, treated, or studied, as by a physician, lawyer, or social worker.
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Box

An area on a diamond marked by lines designating where the batter may stand.
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Case

(Informal) A peculiar or eccentric person; a character.
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Box

Any of various designated areas for other team members, such as the pitcher, catcher, and coaches.
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Case

In traditional grammar, a distinct form of a noun, pronoun, or modifier that is used to express one or more particular syntactic relationships to other words in a sentence.
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Box

A penalty box.
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Case

Case In some varieties of generative grammar, the thematic or semantic role of a noun phrase as represented abstractly but not necessarily indicated overtly in surface structure. In such frameworks, nouns in English have Case even in the absence of inflectional case endings.
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Box

The penalty area on a soccer field.
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Case

A container; a receptacle
A jewelry case.
Meat-filled cases of dough.
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Box

(Printing) Featured printed matter enclosed by hairlines, a border, or white space and placed within or between text columns.
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Case

A container with its contents.
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Box

A hollow made in the side of a tree for the collection of sap.
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Case

A decorative or protective covering or cover.
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Box

A post office box.
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Case

A set or pair
A case of pistols.
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Box

An inbox.
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Case

The frame or framework of a window, door, or stairway.
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Box

An outbox.
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Case

The surface or outer layer of a metal alloy.
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Box

An insulating, enclosing, or protective casing or part in a machine.
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Case

A shallow compartmented tray for storing type or type matrices.
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Box

A signaling device enclosed in a casing
An alarm box.
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Case

The form of a written, printed, or keyed letter that distinguishes it as being lowercase or uppercase
Typed the password using the wrong case.
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Box

A cable box.
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Case

To put into or cover with a case; encase.
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Box

(Informal) A television.
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Case

(Slang) To examine carefully, as in planning a crime
Cased the bank before robbing it.
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Box

A very large portable radio.
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Case

An actual event, situation, or fact.
For a change, in this case, he was telling the truth.
It is not the case that every unfamiliar phrase is an idiom.
In case of fire, break glass. [sign on fire extinguisher holder in public space]
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Box

Chiefly British A gift or gratuity, especially one given at Christmas.
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Case

A given condition or state.
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Box

An awkward or perplexing situation; a predicament.
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Case

A piece of work, specifically defined within a profession.
It was one of the detective's easiest cases.
Social workers should work on a maximum of forty active cases.
The doctor told us of an interesting case he had treated that morning.
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Box

Vulgar Slang The vulva and the vagina.
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Case

(academia) An instance or event as a topic of study.
The teaching consists of theory lessons and case studies.
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Box

A slap or blow with the hand or fist
A box on the ear.
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Case

(legal) A legal proceeding, lawsuit.
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Box

Any of several evergreen shrubs or trees of the genus Buxus, especially the Eurasian species B. sempervirens, widely cultivated as a hedge plant and having opposite, leathery, dark green leaves and small whitish flowers.
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Case

(grammar) A specific inflection of a word (particularly a noun, pronoun, or adjective) depending on its function in the sentence.
The accusative case canonically indicates a direct object.
Latin has six cases, and remnants of a seventh.
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Box

The hard, light yellow wood of any of these plants, formerly widely used to make musical instruments, inlays, engraving blocks, and measuring instruments. Also called boxwood.
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Case

Grammatical cases and their meanings taken either as a topic in general or within a specific language.
Jane has been studying case in Caucasian languages.
Latin is a language that employs case.
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Box

Any of various other shrubs or trees with similar foliage or timber, especially several types of eucalyptus.
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Case

(medicine) An instance of a specific condition or set of symptoms.
There were another five cases reported overnight.
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Box

To pack in a box.
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Case

(programming) A section of code representing one of the actions of a conditional switch.
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Box

To confine in or as if in a box.
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Case

A box that contains or can contain a number of identical items of manufacture.
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Box

To border or enclose with or as if with a box
Key sections of the report are boxed off.
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Case

A box, sheath, or covering generally.
A case for spectacles; the case of a watch
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Box

To provide a housing or case for (a machine part, for example).
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Case

A piece of luggage that can be used to transport an apparatus such as a sewing machine.
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Box

To limit the activity or influence of by or as if by creating a restrictive structure or outlining a territory
The legislature was boxed in by its earlier decisions.
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Case

An enclosing frame or casing.
A door case; a window case
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Box

(Sports) To block (a competitor or opponent) from advancing, especially to hinder an opponent from getting a rebound in basketball by placing oneself between the opponent and the basket
Was boxed out by the tallest player on the team.
Was boxed in on the homestretch.
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Case

A suitcase.
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Box

(Nautical) To boxhaul.
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Case

A piece of furniture, constructed partially of transparent glass or plastic, within which items can be displayed.
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Box

To cut a hole in (a tree) for the collection of sap.
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Case

The outer covering or framework of a piece of apparatus such as a computer.
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Box

To blend (paint) by pouring alternately between two containers.
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Case

A shallow tray divided into compartments or "boxes" for holding type, traditionally arranged in sets of two, the "upper case" (containing capitals, small capitals, accented) and "lower case" (small letters, figures, punctuation marks, quadrats, and spaces).
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Box

To change the shape of (a structure, such as a wall) by applying lath and plaster or boarding.
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Case

The nature of a piece of alphabetic type, whether a “capital” (upper case) or “small” (lower case) letter.
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Box

To hit with the hand or fist.
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Case

(poker slang) Four of a kind.
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Box

(Sports) To take part in a boxing match with.
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Case

(US) A unit of liquid measure used to measure sales in the beverage industry, equivalent to 192 fluid ounces.
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Box

To fight with the fists or in a boxing match.
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Case

(mining) A small fissure which admits water into the workings.
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Box

Senses relating to a three-dimensional object or space.
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Case

A thin layer of harder metal on the surface of an object whose deeper metal is allowed to remain soft.
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Box

A cuboid space; a cuboid container, often with a hinged lid.
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Case

A cardboard box that holds (usually 24) beer bottles or cans.
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Box

A cuboid container and its contents; as much as fills such a container.
A box of books
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Case

A counterfeit crown five-shilling coin.
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Box

A compartment (as a drawer) of an item of furniture used for storage, such as a cupboard, a shelf, etc.
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Case

(obsolete) to propose hypothetical cases
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Box

A compartment or receptacle for receiving items.
Post box
Post office box
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Case

(transitive) To place (an item or items of manufacture) into a box, as in preparation for shipment.
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Box

A compartment to sit inside in an auditorium, courtroom, theatre, or other building.
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Case

(transitive) To cover or protect with, or as if with, a case; to enclose.
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Box

The driver's seat on a horse-drawn coach.
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Case

To survey (a building or other location) surreptitiously, as in preparation for a robbery.
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Box

A small rectangular shelter.
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Case

(poker slang) The last remaining card of a particular rank.
He drew the case eight!
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Box

(automotive) gearbox
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Case

A box, sheath, or covering; as, a case for holding goods; a case for spectacles; the case of a watch; the case (capsule) of a cartridge; a case (cover) for a book.
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Box

(rail) signal box
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Case

A box and its contents; the quantity contained in a box; as, a case of goods; a case of instruments.
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Box

(figuratively) A predicament or trap.
I’m really in a box now.
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Case

A shallow tray divided into compartments or "boxes" for holding type.
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Box

(slang) A prison cell.
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Case

An inclosing frame; a casing; as, a door case; a window case.
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Box

(euphemistic) A coffin.
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Case

A small fissure which admits water to the workings.
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Box

(slang) Preceded by the: television.
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Case

Chance; accident; hap; opportunity.
By aventure, or sort, or cas.
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Box

The vagina.
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Case

That which befalls, comes, or happens; an event; an instance; a circumstance, or all the circumstances; condition; state of things; affair; as, a strange case; a case of injustice; the case of the Indian tribes.
In any case thou shalt deliver him the pledge.
If the case of the man be so with his wife.
And when a lady's in the caseYou know all other things give place.
You think this madness but a common case.
I am in case to justle a constable,
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Box

A computer, or the case in which it is housed.
A UNIX box
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Case

A patient under treatment; an instance of sickness or injury; as, ten cases of fever; also, the history of a disease or injury.
A proper remedy in hypochondriacal cases.
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Box

(slang) A gym dedicated to the CrossFit exercise program.
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Case

The matters of fact or conditions involved in a suit, as distinguished from the questions of law; a suit or action at law; a cause.
Let us consider the reason of the case, for nothing is law that is not reason.
Not one case in the reports of our courts.
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Box

(cricket) A hard protector for the genitals worn inside the underpants by a batsman or close fielder.
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Case

One of the forms, or the inflections or changes of form, of a noun, pronoun, or adjective, which indicate its relation to other words, and in the aggregate constitute its declension; the relation which a noun or pronoun sustains to some other word.
Case is properly a falling off from the nominative or first state of word; the name for which, however, is now, by extension of its signification, applied also to the nominative.
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Box

(cricket) gully
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Case

To cover or protect with, or as with, a case; to inclose.
The man who, cased in steel, had passed whole days and nights in the saddle.
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Box

(engineering) A cylindrical casing around the axle of a wheel, a bearing, a gland, etc.
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Case

To strip the skin from; as, to case a box.
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Box

(fencing) A device used in electric fencing to detect whether a weapon has struck an opponent, which connects to a fencer's weapon by a spool and body wire. It uses lights and sound to notify a hit, with different coloured lights for on target and off target hits.
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Case

To propose hypothetical cases.
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Box

(dated) A small country house.
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Case

A comprehensive term for any proceeding in a court of law whereby an individual seeks a legal remedy;
The family brought suit against the landlord
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Box

A stringed instrument with a soundbox, especially a guitar.
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Case

An occurrence of something;
It was a case of bad judgment
Another instance occurred yesterday
But there is always the famous example of the Smiths
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Box

Senses relating to a two-dimensional object or space
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Case

A special set of circumstances;
In that event, the first possibility is excluded
It may rain in which case the picnic will be canceled
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Box

A rectangle: an oblong or a square.
Place a tick in the box.
This text would stand out better if we put it in a coloured box.
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Case

A problem requiring investigation;
Perry Mason solved the case of the missing heir
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Box

(baseball) The rectangle in which the batter stands.
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Case

The actual state of things;
That was not the case
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Box

(genetics) One of two specific regions in a promoter.
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Oct 19, 2023

Case

A statement of facts and reasons used to support an argument;
He stated his case clearly
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Oct 19, 2023

Box

(juggling) A pattern usually performed with three balls where the movements of the balls make a boxlike shape.
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Oct 19, 2023

Case

A portable container for carrying several objects;
The musicians left their instrument cases backstage
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Oct 19, 2023

Box

(soccer) The penalty area.
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Oct 19, 2023

Case

A person who is subjected to experimental or other observational procedures; someone who is an object of investigation;
The subjects for this investigation were selected randomly
The cases that we studied were drawn from two different communities
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Oct 19, 2023

Box

(aviation) A diamond-shaped flying formation consisting of four aircraft.
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Oct 19, 2023

Case

A person requiring professional services;
A typical case was the suburban housewife described by a marriage counselor
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Oct 19, 2023

Box

Any of various evergreen shrubs or trees of genus Buxus, especially common box, European box, or boxwood (Buxus sempervirens) which is often used for making hedges and topiary.
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Oct 19, 2023

Case

The quantity contained in a case
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Oct 19, 2023

Box

The wood from a box tree: boxwood.
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Oct 19, 2023

Case

A glass container used to store and display items in a shop or museum or home
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Oct 19, 2023

Box

A musical instrument, especially one made from boxwood.
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Oct 19, 2023

Case

A specific state of mind that is temporary;
A case of the jitters
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Oct 19, 2023

Box

(Australia) An evergreen tree of the genus Lophostemon (for example, box scrub, Brisbane box, brush box, pink box, or Queensland box, Lophostemon confertus).
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Oct 19, 2023

Case

Nouns or pronouns or adjectives (often marked by inflection) related in some way to other words in a sentence
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Oct 19, 2023

Box

(Australia) Various species of Eucalyptus trees are popularly called various kinds of boxes, on the basis of the nature of their wood, bark, or appearance for example, the drooping (Eucalyptus bicolor), shiny-leaved (Eucalyptus tereticornis), black, or ironbark box trees.
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Oct 19, 2023

Case

The housing or outer covering of something;
The clock has a walnut case
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Oct 19, 2023

Box

A blow with the fist.
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Oct 19, 2023

Case

A person of a specified kind (usually with many eccentricities);
A real character
A strange character
A friendly eccentric
The capable type
A mental case
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Oct 19, 2023

Box

(dated) A Mediterranean food fish of the genus Boops, which is a variety of sea bream; a bogue or oxeye.
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Oct 19, 2023

Case

An enveloping structure or covering enclosing an animal or plant organ or part
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Oct 19, 2023

Box

(transitive) To place inside a box; to pack in one or more boxes.
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Oct 19, 2023

Case

The enclosing frame around a door or window opening;
The casings had rotted away and had to be replaced
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Oct 19, 2023

Box

(transitive) Usually followed by in: to surround and enclose in a way that restricts movement; to corner, to hem in.
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Oct 19, 2023

Case

Bed linen consisting of a cover for a pillow;
The burglar carried his loot in a pillowcase
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Oct 19, 2023

Box

(transitive) To mix two containers of paint of similar colour to ensure that the color is identical.
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Oct 19, 2023

Case

Look over, usually with the intention to rob;
They men cased the housed
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Oct 19, 2023

Box

To make an incision or hole in (a tree) for the purpose of procuring the sap.
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Oct 19, 2023

Case

Enclose in, or as if in, a case;
My feet were encased in mud
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Oct 19, 2023

Box

To enclose with boarding, lathing, etc., so as to conceal (for example, pipes) or to bring to a required form.
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Oct 19, 2023

Case

A matter to be resolved in a court of law.
The lawyer presented the case to the jury.
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Nov 12, 2023

Box

To furnish (for example, the axle of a wheel) with a box.
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Oct 19, 2023

Case

A set of circumstances or a state of affairs.
In case of emergency, break the glass.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 12, 2023

Box

To enclose (images, text, etc.) in a box.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Box

To place a value of a primitive type into a corresponding object.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Box

(transitive) To strike with the fists; to punch.
Box someone’s ears
Leave this place before I box you!
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Box

To fight against (a person) in a boxing match.
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Oct 19, 2023

Box

To participate in boxing; to be a boxer.
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Oct 19, 2023

Box

A tree or shrub, flourishing in different parts of the world. The common box (Buxus sempervirens) has two varieties, one of which, the dwarf box (Buxus suffruticosa), is much used for borders in gardens. The wood of the tree varieties, being very hard and smooth, is extensively used in the arts, as by turners, engravers, mathematical instrument makers, etc.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Box

A receptacle or case of any firm material and of various shapes.
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Oct 19, 2023

Box

The quantity that a box contain.
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Oct 19, 2023

Box

A space with a few seats partitioned off in a theater, or other place of public amusement.
Laughed at by the pit, box, galleries, nay, stage.
The boxes and the pit are sovereign judges.
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Oct 19, 2023

Box

A chest or any receptacle for the deposit of money; as, a poor box; a contribution box.
Yet since his neighbors give, the churl unlocks,Damning the poor, his tripple-bolted box.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Box

A small country house.
Tight boxes neatly sashed.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Box

A boxlike shed for shelter; as, a sentry box.
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Oct 19, 2023

Box

An axle box, journal box, journal bearing, or bushing.
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Oct 19, 2023

Box

The driver's seat on a carriage or coach.
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Oct 19, 2023

Box

A present in a box; a present; esp. a Christmas box or gift.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Box

The square in which the pitcher stands.
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Oct 19, 2023

Box

A Mediterranean food fish; the bogue.
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Oct 19, 2023

Box

A blow on the head or ear with the hand.
A good-humored box on the ear.
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Oct 19, 2023

Box

To inclose in a box.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Box

To furnish with boxes, as a wheel.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Box

To inclose with boarding, lathing, etc., so as to bring to a required form.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Box

To fight with the fist; to combat with, or as with, the hand or fist; to spar.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Box

To strike with the hand or fist, especially to strike on the ear, or on the side of the head.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Box

To boxhaul.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Box

A (usually rectangular) container; may have a lid;
He rummaged through a box of spare parts
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Box

Private area in a theater or grandstand where a small group can watch the performance;
The royal box was empty
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Box

The quantity contained in a box;
He gave her a box of chocolates
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Oct 19, 2023

Box

A predicament from which a skillful or graceful escape is impossible;
His lying got him into a tight corner
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Oct 19, 2023

Box

A rectangular drawing;
The flowchart contained many boxes
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Box

Evergreen shrubs or small trees
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Box

Any one of several designated areas on a ball field where the batter or catcher or coaches are positioned;
The umpire warned the batter to stay in the batter's box
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Box

The driver's seat on a coach;
An armed guard sat in the box with the driver
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Oct 19, 2023

Box

Separate partitioned area in a public place for a few people;
The sentry stayed in his box to avoid the cold
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Box

A blow with the hand (usually on the ear);
I gave him a good box on the ear
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Box

Put into a box;
Box the gift, please
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Box

Hit with the fist;
I'll box your ears!
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Box

Engage in a boxing match
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Box

An area or space within a larger context, often marked off or designated.
Please tick the appropriate box on the form.
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Nov 12, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Are boxes always square or rectangular?

While most common, boxes can also be cylindrical or of other shapes.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 12, 2023

Do boxes have lids?

Many do, but some boxes, like open crates, do not.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 12, 2023

Can 'case' refer to legal scenarios?

Yes, in law, a 'case' is a matter decided or pending in court.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 12, 2023

Can 'case' also be a verb?

Yes, as in 'casing the joint,' meaning to examine or survey a place.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 12, 2023

Are boxes used in shipping?

Yes, boxes are a staple in packaging and shipping industries.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 12, 2023

Is a suitcase a type of case?

Yes, it's a specific type of case for carrying clothes and personal items.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 12, 2023

Can a 'box' be a verb?

Yes, it can mean to enclose in or as if in a box.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 12, 2023

Is a 'case' always hard and rigid?

No, cases can be soft, like fabric pencil cases.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 12, 2023

What materials are boxes typically made of?

Boxes are often made of cardboard, wood, or plastic.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 12, 2023

What is a 'case study'?

It's an in-depth analysis of a particular instance or event.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 12, 2023

Are gift boxes a common use of boxes?

Yes, especially decorative ones for presentation.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 12, 2023

What's a 'box office'?

It's where tickets are sold, typically in a theater.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 12, 2023

What's a 'bookcase'?

It's a piece of furniture with shelves for storing books.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 12, 2023

Can 'box' refer to an area on a form?

Yes, as in a checkbox or text box.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 12, 2023

What does 'in case' mean?

It's used to refer to a possible future scenario or precaution.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 12, 2023

Is a 'light box' used in photography?

Yes, for viewing or backlighting photographs or transparencies.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 12, 2023

Can 'case' mean to argue or plead?

Yes, especially in a legal or debating context.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 12, 2023

What does 'case-sensitive' mean?

It refers to distinguishing between uppercase and lowercase letters.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 12, 2023

Are boxes often recyclable?

Yes, especially those made of cardboard.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 12, 2023

Is a 'jewelry case' common?

Yes, for storing and protecting jewelry.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 12, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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