jag·​uar | \ˈja-ˌgwär, -gyə-ˌwär, -gwər; dialectal -gwī(-ə)r, especially British ˈja-gyə-wər \
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

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Illustration of jaguar

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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

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 Audubon Zoo officials said Tuesday the staff was shocked to see the jaguar was able to bite through the steel fencing to create the 8-by-10-inch hole. Katherine Lam, Fox News, "Jaguar at New Orleans zoo bit through steel fence before killing 9 animals, will not be euthanized," 19 July 2018 Paul IrvineDehoucheHe’s planned exclusive workshops with a local fashion designer, cooking classes with chef Felipe Bronze of Oro, art tours, jaguar tracking, and samba dancing lessons. Paul Brady, Condé Nast Traveler, "2018 Top Travel Specialists We Trust," 19 Oct. 2018 There will also be special encounters lined up with some of the zoo's biggest hits like elephants, jaguars, and sea lions. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "Drink craft beer for a good cause at the Houston Zoo's first-ever Brew at the Zoo event," 8 Mar. 2018 In a brief but dramatic episode, two lions, two tigers, a jaguar and a bear were found to be missing from their enclosures in a zoo in western Germany on Friday, prompting a major search by police, the fire brigade, and veterinarians. New York Times,, "Zoo escape grips Germany," 1 June 2018 More: Meet Lucky, an elk whose dramatic birth story will melt your heart Inside Bearizona Canyonlands, a 6,000-square-foot restaurant with a 25-foot waterfall, overlooks the jaguar exhibit. Scott Craven, azcentral, "Bearizona: Top things to do at drive-thru wildlife park in Williams," 12 July 2018 And that's not just because of the silhouette of a jaguar and her cub projected onto the ground next to the door at night. Eric Bangeman, Ars Technica, "A sports car in SUV clothing: The Jaguar E-Pace reviewed," 28 June 2018 Juris used to be the menagerie caretaker there, but a jaguar attack had put him out of his right mind. Chicago Tribune,, "Algren Award runner-up: "Am I Not Your Animal" by Matt Jones," 2 June 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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jag spike






Statistics for jaguar

Last Updated

14 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for jaguar

The first known use of jaguar was in 1604

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More Definitions for jaguar



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 \

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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a knickknack or trinket

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