jag·​uar | \ ˈja-ˌgwär How to pronounce jaguar (audio) , -gyə-ˌwär, -gwər; dialectal -gwī(-ə)r, especially British ˈja-gyə-wər How to pronounce jaguar (audio) \
plural jaguars also jaguar

Definition of 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

Keep scrolling for more

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 This year alone, Masai giraffes were declared endangered, fires in the Amazon devastated jaguars, turtles, and other wildlife, and cheetah researchers accused of spying were sentenced to years in prison in Iran. National Geographic, "Wildlife wins: 7 good-news stories from 2019," 20 Dec. 2019 The median lifespan for jaguars is 18 years, according to the zoo. Robin Goist, cleveland, "Beloved jaguar at Akron Zoo dies after battle with cancer," 8 Nov. 2019 The median lifespan for jaguars is 18 years, according to the zoo. Robin Goist,, "Akron Zoo jaguar diagnosed with cancer," 4 Sep. 2019 If no one can tell the difference between tiger and lion bone, then who can tell the difference between tiger and jaguar, leopard, or any other big cat bone? Nichole Sobecki, National Geographic, "Exclusive: Inside a controversial South African lion farm," 21 Nov. 2019 Predators, on the other hand—think jaguars, owls, and, yes, humans—have eyes on the front of their head. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "The Internet Thinks These Things Are Aliens. The Truth Is Much More Sinister.," 14 Nov. 2019 There’s evidence too that jaguar and leopard poaching has increased in recent years. Nichole Sobecki, National Geographic, "Exclusive: Inside a controversial South African lion farm," 21 Nov. 2019 In the dry season, wildlife enthusiasts flock to see jaguars lounging on riverbanks, as well as macaws, giant river otters and caiman. Washington Post, "Biggest tropical wetlands ravaged by fires in Brazil," 7 Nov. 2019 As tigers have become rarer, for example, lion and jaguar parts have begun entering China’s black market as proxies. Rachel Nuwer, Scientific American, "Wildlife Trade Entangles Nearly a Fifth of the Planet’s Vertebrate Animals," 3 Oct. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of jaguar

1604, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for jaguar

Portuguese, from Tupi jawára large carnivore

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about jaguar

Time Traveler for jaguar

Time Traveler

The first known use of jaguar was in 1604

See more words from the same year

Statistics for jaguar

Last Updated

12 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Jaguar.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for jaguar


How to pronounce jaguar (audio) How to pronounce jaguar (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of jaguar

: a large, brown, wild cat with black spots that lives in Central and South America


jag·​uar | \ ˈjag-ˌwär How to pronounce jaguar (audio) \

Kids Definition of jaguar

: a large yellowish brown black-spotted animal of the cat family found chiefly from Mexico to Argentina

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on jaguar

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with jaguar

Spanish Central: Translation of jaguar

Nglish: Translation of jaguar for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about jaguar

Comments on jaguar

What made you want to look up jaguar? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to help to grow, develop, or succeed

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!