jag·​uar ˈja-ˌgwär How to pronounce jaguar (audio) -gyə-ˌwär How to pronounce jaguar (audio)
 dialectal  -gwī(-ə)r,
 especially British  ˈja-gyə-wər
plural jaguars also jaguar
: a large cat (Panthera onca) chiefly of Central and South America that is larger and stockier than the leopard and is brownish yellow or buff with black spots

Illustration of jaguar

Illustration of jaguar

Did you know?

The jaguar is the largest New World cat. It was once found in wooded regions from the U.S.-Mexican border south to Patagonia, Currently, the jaguar survives, in reduced numbers, only in remote areas of Central and South America; the largest known population is in the Amazon rain forest. The male is 5.5-9.0 ft. (1.7-2.7 m) long, including the tail, which measures 23-35-in. (60-90-cm) long, and weighs 220-350 lbs. (100-160 kg). The coat is typically orange-tan with black spots arranged in rosettes with a black spot in the center. A solitary predator, the jaguar usually hunts rodents, deer, birds, and fish; it will also take cattle, horses, and dogs.

Examples of jaguar in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Like a jaguar, Victoria Monét attacked the nominations The Academy loves to see a songwriter stepping into the spotlight. Justin Curto, Vulture, 10 Nov. 2023 Mesoamerican archaeologists know it as Monument 9: a 2,600-year-old carving in stone of a jaguar’s gaping face, roughly five feet wide and tall and weighing one ton. David Shortell Marian Carrasquero, New York Times, 23 Oct. 2023 The Little Rock Zoo's new male jaguar LeBron is now on exhibit. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Arkansas Online, 23 Oct. 2023 As their habitats have diminished, jaguars have become more likely to attack farm animals. Luis Bernardo Cano, The Christian Science Monitor, 20 Oct. 2023 Rockmore lacquered a vintage leopard to become a black jaguar. Claire Brito, House Beautiful, 15 Aug. 2023 In Colombia, jaguar habitats are under threat as forests shrink. Luis Bernardo Cano, The Christian Science Monitor, 20 Oct. 2023 For some Guarani people, eclipses are seen as caused by an evil spirit that is embodied by a jaguar constellation. Ana Ionova, New York Times, 10 Oct. 2023 Almost a month after the first wildlife trafficking incident, Gutierrez-Galvan met with the same undercover agent to deliver a jaguar cub on September 26. Kara Nelson, CNN, 1 Oct. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Portuguese, from Tupi jawára large carnivore

First Known Use

1604, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of jaguar was in 1604

Dictionary Entries Near jaguar

Cite this Entry

“Jaguar.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


jag·​uar ˈjag(-yə)-ˌwär How to pronounce jaguar (audio)
: a large yellowish brown black-spotted cat of tropical America that is larger and has a more solid build than the leopard

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