ti·ger | \ˈtī-gər \
plural tigers

Definition of tiger 

1 plural also tiger

a : a large Asian carnivorous mammal (Panthera tigris) of the cat family having a usually tawny coat transversely striped with black

b : any of several large wildcats (such as the jaguar or cougar)

c : a domestic cat with striped pattern

d Australia : tasmanian tiger

2a : a fierce, daring, or aggressive person or quality aroused the tiger in him a tiger for work

b : someone or something (such as a situation) that is formidable or impossible to control how the tiger of inflation can be tamed— J. A. Davenport often used in the phrases ride a tiger and have a tiger by the tail

3 British : a groom in livery

Illustration of tiger

Illustration of tiger

tiger 1a

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Other Words from tiger

tigerish \ˈtī-g(ə-)rish \ adjective
tigerishly adverb
tigerishness noun
tigerlike \ˈtī-gər-ˌlīk \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for tiger


pit bull



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Examples of tiger in a Sentence

He was a tiger on the basketball court. even the best defense can't keep that tiger from scoring

Recent Examples on the Web

The tigers of the brackish Sundarbans mangrove forest in Bangladesh are an exception, killing more than 20 people each year. Elisa Neckar, Discover Magazine, "20 Things You Didn't Know About ... Big Cats," 8 May 2018 Twenty-five years ago, the rules and regulations against owning exotic animals like tigers and lions in your home were much more relaxed. Southern Living, "WATCH: There's An Incredible Organization In Alabama That Rescues & Protects Animals," 1 May 2018 Soohorang the white tiger is one of two official faces of the 2018 Games (the other is an Asiatic black bear named Bandabi), and the animal's image is all over the Olympics, including on official pins, road signs, and even on airport banners. Rose Minutaglio, Popular Mechanics, "All the Robots Taking Over the PyeongChang Winter Olympics," 22 Feb. 2018 My travels have taken me to Botswana to track lions and central India in search of tigers. Andrew Evans, chicagotribune.com, "Feel the pull of the prairie on a uniquely American safari in Montana," 5 July 2018 New Yorkers are always thinking about the life of the tiger. Ernest Slyman, New York Times, "Bronx Zoo," 21 June 2018 Mike the Tiger moved through the water of his glassed-in enclosure with the elegant stealth of, well, a tiger. Lisa Gutierrez, kansascity, "Millions watch video of Mike the Tiger 'stalk' LSU visitor. Then his caretaker pounced," 21 June 2018 Animals included lions in Tanzania, otters in Brazil, coyotes in California, wild boars in Poland and tigers in Nepal. Washington Post, "Many animals are shifting from day to night to avoid people," 15 June 2018 Buy Photo Some cars never rust, hidden from the world in wax and sealant, their souls lying idle in garages like tigers in a zoo. Jason Nark, Philly.com, "Destined for the junkyard, beloved lemons hit the South Jersey track," 11 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tiger.' 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 tiger

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for tiger

Middle English tigre, from Old English tiger & Anglo-French tigre, both from Latin tigris, from Greek, probably of Iranian origin; akin to Avestan tighra- pointed; akin to Greek stizein to tattoo — more at stick

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Statistics for tiger

Last Updated

4 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tiger

The first known use of tiger was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for tiger



English Language Learners Definition of tiger

: a large, wild cat that has a coat of usually yellow or orange fur and black stripes and that lives in Asia

: a striped cat that lives with people

: a person who is very fierce or aggressive


ti·ger | \ˈtī-gər \

Kids Definition of tiger

: a large Asian meat-eating animal of the cat family that is light brown with black stripes

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Comments on tiger

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a generally accepted meaning of a word

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