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

But the integrity of Zeffirelli’s taste, intelligence, and sexuality was never in question until now — when artistic sincerity is insufficient to satisfy the bloodthirst of media jackals who attempt to destroy any conservative ally. Armond White, National Review, "Franco Zeffirelli: Unlikely Conservative Hero," 20 June 2019 There, mixed with surprising wildlife like jackals and gazelle on the verge of extinction, 25,000 cattle roam the grassy bluffs of Golan’s volcanic plateau. Josh Adler, National Geographic, "Making peace in the Golan Heights—between humans and wolves," 11 Apr. 2019 And the Egyptian gods included one, Anubis, with the head of a dog or a jackal. John Hooper, WSJ, "Pompeii, Buried for Centuries, Yields New Finds," 9 Oct. 2018 So jackals at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee leaped. George Skelton, latimes.com, "Give California’s top-two primary some more time, and if it doesn’t get better, junk it," 11 June 2018 Hyenas chased off the smaller jackals, fighting amongst themselves for the prize. National Geographic, "Our Favorite Lion Videos Reveal the Power of Predators," 10 Aug. 2017 Without light, the snipers and jackals patrolling the streets disappear. Charles Theel, Ars Technica, "This War of Mine," 28 Oct. 2017 Even a jackal move – firing or reassigning Pagano and replacing him with Arians – wouldn’t have worked, because Arians wouldn’t have taken the job under those conditions. Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star, "Doyel: The uncomfortable truth – Bruce Arians is a better coach than Chuck Pagano," 14 Sep. 2017 His regiment occasionally found time to hunt on horseback for jackals. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "Michael Sandberg Dragged HSBC Into the Post-Colonial World," 14 July 2017

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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Statistics for jackal

Last Updated

1 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for jackal

The first known use of jackal was in 1603

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on jackal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with jackal

Spanish Central: Translation of jackal

Nglish: Translation of jackal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about jackal

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