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

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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

In Peru’s Candamo Valley, one of South America’s most remote pieces of rainforest, wild jaguars still prowl the forest. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "Can the Jaguars’ Unique Biology Help It Survive On Our Over-Populated Planet?," 22 May 2018 But, besides occasional jaguars in the extreme Southwest, melanistic big cats have never been documented in the U.S. — across the rest of the nation, the naturally tawny cougar is the only native big cat. 16. Elisa Neckar, Discover Magazine, "20 Things You Didn't Know About ... Big Cats," 8 May 2018 An entire west German town was on lock down after lions, tigers, a bear and a jaguar broke out of a local zoo Friday (June 1). Maria Clark,, "Lions, tigers, bear (and a jaguar) cause panic after breaking out of German zoo: report," 1 June 2018 The zoo’s female jaguar, Ix Chel, who had given birth to five cubs, was euthanized in September because of kidney failure. Janet Mcconnaughey, The Seattle Times, "New Orleans zoo returns jaguar in strengthened exhibit," 5 Feb. 2019 But the jaguar stayed near her tree, even after all nine of us showed up for a look. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "Can the Jaguars’ Unique Biology Help It Survive On Our Over-Populated Planet?," 22 May 2018 The software not only correctly identified the leopard, its other top guesses—jaguar, cheetah, snow leopard, and Egyptian cat—were all similar-looking cats. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "How computers got shockingly good at recognizing images," 18 Dec. 2018 No people were injured when Valerio, a 3-year-old male jaguar, escaped Saturday morning before the zoo’s scheduled opening. Kevin Mcgill, The Seattle Times, "Fox is 9th casualty after jaguar’s weekend escape at zoo," 16 July 2018 The jaguar, named Valerio, was sedated by Audubon Zoo staff after he was discovered out of his habitat. Katherine Lam, Fox News, "Jaguar at New Orleans zoo bit through steel fence before killing 9 animals, will not be euthanized," 19 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of jaguar

1604, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for jaguar

Portuguese, from Tupi jawára large carnivore

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Dictionary Entries near jaguar


jag spike






Statistics for jaguar

Last Updated

18 May 2019

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Time Traveler for jaguar

The first known use of jaguar was in 1604

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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

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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

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