cheetah

noun
chee·​tah | \ ˈchē-tə \
plural cheetahs also cheetah

Definition of cheetah

: a long-legged spotted swift-moving African and formerly Asian cat (Acinonyx jubatus) about the size of a small leopard that has blunt nonretractile claws

Illustration of cheetah

Illustration of cheetah

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Did You Know?

A cheetah is a slender, long-legged cat that lives on the plains of Africa and in the Middle East, where it is threatened with extinction. It is the fastest land animal in the world over short distances and can reach a speed of 60 mph (100 kph). Its claws differ from those of other cats in being only partly retractable and lacking protective sheaths. Cheetahs purr rather than roar. Cheetahs grow to about 55 in. (140 cm) long, excluding the 29-31-in. (75-80-cm) tail, and weigh 110-130 lbs. (50-60 kg). Their coarse fur is sandy yellow above, white below, and covered with small black spots; a black streak runs down the face from the corner of each eye.

Examples of cheetah in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Wilderness Safaris’ Linkwasha is the epitome of safari luxury, and it’s in the best game area of the park: warring lion prides, packs of wild dogs, cheetahs, and herds of elephant and buffalo everywhere. Klara Glowczewska, Town & Country, "The Best Places to Travel in 2019," 7 Dec. 2018 Dolce & Gabbana experimented with everything from zebra to tiger, while newcomer Miaou introduced sportier options in cheetah and snake. Alice Bell, Vogue, "Into the Wild! 5 Chic Ways to Pull Off Head-to-Toe Animal Print," 31 May 2018 In March, a man a man traveling on an African safari at Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park had a close encounter with a cheetah after the animal jumped into his open car. Jennifer Earl, Fox News, "Cheetahs chase tourists at Dutch safari park after family gets out of car to snap pictures," 11 May 2018 In April, Wilderness Travel will host a four-day conservation symposium, with lectures by leaders in the field and excursions (like cheetah tracking), followed by a safari (wildernesstravel.com). Christian L. Wright, WSJ, "The 10 Most Intriguing Travel Destinations for 2019," 23 Oct. 2018 Often overlooked, zebra is a great alternative to leopard and cheetah prints and is perfect for those who prefer to dress in subtle shades of black and white. Alice Bell, Vogue, "Into the Wild! 5 Chic Ways to Pull Off Head-to-Toe Animal Print," 31 May 2018 In contrast, some participants didn’t know other animals had made their way onto the list in recent years: Some species of giraffe, hummingbird, salmon, and cheetah are currently listed as endangered. National Geographic, "Is This Clothing, Food, or an Endangered Species? Take Our Quiz.," 18 May 2018 This funky, lightweight low-rider from Swiss upstart On is part cheetah, part gym rat. Outside Online, "The Best Road Running Shoes of 2018," 15 May 2018 In their wake come the predators: lion, cheetah, circling vultures, and at the river crossings, a frothing stew of crocodiles, who pick off the exhausted ones. Sophy Roberts, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Ultimate Safari: Seeing the Great Migration in Kenya and Tanzania," 25 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cheetah.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cheetah

1610, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cheetah

Hindi cītā & Urdu chītā leopard, from Sanskrit citraka, from citra bright, variegated; akin to Old High German heitar bright — more at -hood

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Dictionary Entries near cheetah

Cheese Week

cheesewood

cheesy

cheetah

cheetal

Cheever

cheewink

Statistics for cheetah

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for cheetah

The first known use of cheetah was in 1610

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More Definitions for cheetah

cheetah

noun

English Language Learners Definition of cheetah

: a large wild cat that lives in Asia and Africa and that can run very fast

cheetah

noun
chee·​tah | \ ˈchē-tə \

Kids Definition of cheetah

: a long-legged spotted African and formerly Asian animal of the cat family that is the fastest animal on land

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More from Merriam-Webster on cheetah

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cheetah

Spanish Central: Translation of cheetah

Nglish: Translation of cheetah for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about cheetah

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