din·​go ˈdiŋ-(ˌ)gō How to pronounce dingo (audio)
plural dingoes
: 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 The egg-laying mammals also have to contend with predators, which can include hawks, eagles, Tasmanian devils, snakes and dingoes. Christian Thorsberg, Smithsonian Magazine, 20 Feb. 2024 Before the colonization of Australia, many aboriginal people buried dingoes with rites indistinguishable from those used for humans. Rafil Kroll-Zaidi, Harper's Magazine, 13 Dec. 2023 Wildlife was plentiful — giant saltwater crocodiles, wallabies, dingoes, wild boar, and some 280 bird species live here. Drew Kluska, Travel + Leisure, 25 Nov. 2023 These large, striped marsupials once lived across Australia, but as of around 2,000 years ago, they had been confined to the island of Tasmania—perhaps due to competition with dingoes and hunting by humans. Will Sullivan, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 Sep. 2023 In an update Friday, the department said a 23-year-old woman was hospitalized with serious injuries to her arms and legs after she was bitten by dingoes while jogging on an island beach Monday. Kathleen Magramo, CNN, 21 July 2023 His dog, Ginger, a 3-year-old American dingo, started whining. Blake Nelson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 Aug. 2023 An image provided by the department showed an unnamed New South Wales woman, 29, laying down next to a pack of sleeping dingo pups. Kathleen Magramo, CNN, 21 July 2023 When approached by predators, which include foxes, dogs, cats and dingoes, echidnas curl up into a spiky ball that’s painful to attack. Carolyn Hagler, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 June 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dingo.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1789, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dingo was in 1789

Dictionary Entries Near dingo

Cite this Entry

“Dingo.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dingo. Accessed 18 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


din·​go ˈdiŋ-gō How to pronounce dingo (audio)
plural dingoes
: a reddish brown bushy-tailed wild dog of Australia

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