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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The deepest chamber, nicknamed the Treasury, was guarded by a huge black jackal, representing the god Anubis, with a linen cloak, collar of blue flowers, claws of silver, and ears and eyes of gold. Jo Marchant, Smithsonian Magazine, 3 Nov. 2022 But Italian conservationists were taken by surprise in December when a new creature turned up unexpectedly: a golden jackal. Nick Squires, The Christian Science Monitor, 5 Jan. 2022 In Tuscany, the sighting of the jackal has been greeted with delight rather than dread. Nick Squires, The Christian Science Monitor, 5 Jan. 2022 Not enough and the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires will imitate a jackal stuck in quicksand. Dave Vanderwerp, Car and Driver, 29 Nov. 2021 Three hyenas, a jackal, and two elephants endure a sandstorm on a hot, humid late afternoon while the wind picks up before the squall begins. Cecilia Rodriguez, Forbes, 7 Nov. 2021 The collection had been expanded by 1622 to include three eagles, two pumas, a tiger, and a jackal, as well as more lions and leopards. Gabrielle Duncan, PEOPLE.com, 31 Aug. 2021 Over time, Cardenas gave them distinct personalities, partly inspired by characters from Seinfeld: the feline Bast as the irreverent, extroverted Elaine, and Anubis, the jackal, as the endearingly stolid Puddy. Christopher Ross, WSJ, 4 June 2021 When a predator, like the jackal or rooikat, gets close to the grazing sheep, the devices send out a noisy alarm, plus flashing lights to irritate them and ultimately drive them away from the livestock. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, 15 July 2020 See More

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

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 9 Dec. 2022.

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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