din·​go | \ ˈdiŋ-(ˌ)gō How to pronounce dingo (audio) \
plural dingoes

Definition of dingo

: a wild dog (Canis dingo) of Australia having a tan or reddish coat that is often considered a subspecies (C. familiaris dingo) of the domestic dog

Illustration of dingo

Illustration of dingo

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An Australian wild dog, the dingo was apparently introduced from Asia 5,000–8,000 years ago. It has short, soft fur, a bushy tail, and erect, pointed ears. It is about 4 ft (1.2 m) long, including the 12-in (30-cm) tail, and stands about 24 in (60 cm) high. Its color varies between yellowish and reddish brown, often with white underparts, feet, and tail tip. Dingoes hunt alone or in small groups. They formerly preyed on kangaroos, but now feed mainly on rabbits and sometimes on livestock. Through competition for resources, they contributed to the extermination of the Tasmanian wolf and Tasmanian devil on the Australian mainland.

Examples of dingo in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web For more than 70 years, the sole hint of what is commonly called the Coniston Massacre, after a nearby cattle station, was the grave of Fred Brooks, the White dingo trapper whose killing by an Aboriginal man sparked the reprisals. Washington Post, 11 May 2022 In the early 2000s, Emma Cunliffe, a law student at the University of British Columbia, was looking into the infamous case of Lindy Chamberlain, who in the 1980s claimed a dingo took her baby. Oscar Schwartz, Wired, 9 Dec. 2021 Genetically, the wild highland singing dog, the captive singing dogs and the Australian dingo are nearly identical, the study found. al, 28 Dec. 2020 Lethal control also fractures wild dingo family units, increasing attacks from reckless young dingoes. Max G. Levy, Science | AAAS, 20 Oct. 2020 The Guardian also suggests that changing climate and the introduction of the dingo may have also played roles in the devil’s extinction in Australia. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 Oct. 2020 Only one dingo ran from the audio recording of gunshots. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Oct. 2020 The institute was founded in the 1980s following the notorious case of Lindy Chamberlain, who said that a dingo had made off with her baby. Rachel Pannett, WSJ, 30 Sep. 2020 Both the wild dogs and the captive singing dogs are close relatives of the Australian dingo, and relatively distant relatives of domestic dogs. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, 2 Sep. 2020 See More

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

First Known Use of dingo

1789, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for dingo

Dharuk (Australian aboriginal language of the Port Jackson area) diŋgu

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Last Updated

20 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Dingo.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dingo. Accessed 5 Jul. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on dingo

Britannica English: Translation of dingo for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about dingo


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