jack·​al | \ ˈja-kəl How to pronounce jackal (audio) also -ˌkȯl \

Definition of jackal

1 : any of several small omnivorous canids (such as Canis aureus) of Africa and Asia having large ears, long legs, and bushy tails
2a : a person who performs routine or menial tasks for another
b : 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 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 In December 2019, a video went viral after a group of tourists recorded a python, honey badger and two jackals fighting each other while on safari in Africa. Fox News, 28 May 2020 In Adelaide, Australia, police shared a video of a kangaroo hoping around a mostly empty downtown, and a pack of jackals occupied an urban park in Tel Aviv, Israel. Seth Borenstein, The Christian Science Monitor, 22 Apr. 2020 Last week, Oded Balilty, a photographer with the Associated Press, captured images of these jackals roaming out into the relatively deserted park. Alan Taylor, The Atlantic, 14 Apr. 2020 More importantly, with jackal smiles and twitchy foot movements, the performers’ energy seems to clash with their banal backdrops. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 1 Apr. 2020 Gamergate gathered steam and acquired additional targets, moving across the Internet like a relentless misogynist jackal pack. Hari Kunzru, The New York Review of Books, 10 Mar. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of jackal

1603, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for jackal

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

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Dictionary Entries Near jackal



jackal buzzard

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Last Updated

5 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Jackal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jackal. Accessed 23 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for jackal



English Language Learners Definition of jackal

: a wild dog found in Africa and Asia


jack·​al | \ ˈja-kəl How to pronounce jackal (audio) \

Kids Definition of jackal

: a wild dog of Africa and Asia like but smaller than a wolf

More from Merriam-Webster on jackal

Nglish: Translation of jackal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about jackal


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