jack·​al ˈja-kəl How to pronounce jackal (audio)
 also  -ˌkȯl
: any of several small omnivorous canids (such as Canis aureus) of Africa and Asia having large ears, long legs, and bushy tails
: a person who performs routine or menial tasks for another
: a person who serves or collaborates with another especially in the commission of base acts

Examples of jackal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web About the size of a German shepherd and resembling a jackal, D. avus roamed Patagonia’s grasslands from the late Ice Age until about 500 years ago. Sonja Anderson, Smithsonian Magazine, 15 Apr. 2024 There are various shots of jackals and spiders having physical contact with Margaret. Brian Davids, The Hollywood Reporter, 2 Apr. 2024 From jackals to hornbills, many grassland animals form a deep bond with their partner By Devin Farmiloe The Lion King got one thing right: love is in the air on the savanna. Devin Farmiloe, Scientific American, 14 Feb. 2024 Other predators visible there include hyenas, cheetahs, and jackals. Stephanie Vermillion, Travel + Leisure, 9 Dec. 2023 Anubis was also known as the guardian of the dead, so mummies were buried with amulets adorned with a jackal. Elizabeth Gamillo, Discover Magazine, 31 Oct. 2023 With astonishing speed, the pack scarfs it down, while warthogs, vultures, and jackals wait in the periphery for the scraps. Scott Bay, Condé Nast Traveler, 7 Nov. 2023 The lion and the bull became friends, and the jackals were promoted to the first rank by the grateful monarch. Salman Rushdie, The New Yorker, 31 Oct. 2023 News media showed mountain goats on Welsh sidewalks, jackals in Tel Aviv, daytime raccoons sauntering through Central Park in New York City. Carl Safina, TIME, 5 Oct. 2023

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

Word History


Turkish çakal, from Persian shaqāl, of Indo-Aryan origin; akin to Sanskrit sṛgāla jackal

First Known Use

1603, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of jackal was in 1603

Dictionary Entries Near jackal

Cite this Entry

“Jackal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jackal. Accessed 27 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


jack·​al ˈjak-əl How to pronounce jackal (audio)
: any of several wild dogs of Africa and Asia like but smaller than the related wolves

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