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 Beyond Smilodon populator, known since 1842 from fossils in a Brazilian cave, the continent also hosted another smaller Smilodon species, as well as jaguars, lions and Arctotherium, the biggest bear ever known. Joshua Sokol, New York Times, "They Knew Saber-toothed Tigers Were Big. Then They Found This Skull.," 14 Mar. 2020 Michel was in Pantanal, Brazil, photographing jaguars. Meredith Longo, ABC News, "Photo of 2 mice 'fighting' on subway platform wins award," 12 Feb. 2020 Even if additional groundwater pumping doesn’t deplete the aquifer, the area is a vital migratory pathway for wide-ranging species like jaguars, mountain lions, wolves and black bears. Erin Stone, azcentral, "Concerns grow that Trump's wall will damage rivers, wildlife habitat on Arizona border," 3 Feb. 2020 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

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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Time Traveler for jaguar

Time Traveler

The first known use of jaguar was in 1604

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Statistics for jaguar

Last Updated

5 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Jaguar.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Apr. 2020.

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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

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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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