ti·​ger | \ ˈtī-gər How to pronounce tiger (audio) \
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 How to pronounce tigerish (audio) \ adjective
tigerishly adverb
tigerishness noun
tigerlike \ ˈtī-​gər-​ˌlīk How to pronounce tigerlike (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for tiger


barracuda, fire-breather, fire-eater, 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

In this seasonal crop of children’s books, readers can ramble on the beach, smash watermelons (and friendships) at summer camp, go hiking with a tiger and, on the very last day of summer, get slobbered on by a time-traveling platypus. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: An Endless Season for All Ages," 24 May 2019 The incident was similar to one earlier this year, when armed police stormed a Scottish farm after receiving a report a tiger was on the loose – only to discover the big cat was a toy laying on the road. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "'Deadly' scorpion sighting on English street turns out to be child's toy," 28 Mar. 2018 Animal Print Courtesy of Zimmermann This season's animal print selections run the gamut, from your classic leopard to variations on zebra and tiger stripes—even python! Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "The Swimwear Trends of 2019 to Try This Summer, From Animal Prints to Metallics," 9 Apr. 2019 Serkis’ film features an A-list voice cast for the iconic jungle animals of those original stories: Christian Bale as Bagheera, Benedict Cumberbatch as the villainous tiger Shere Khan, and Cate Blanchett as the snake Kaa. Laura Hudson, The Verge, "Netflix gets the worldwide rights to Andy Serkis’ Mowgli movie," 27 July 2018 Agent Robert Rodriguez said Tuesday that the tiger appeared calm and was possibly sedated. BostonGlobe.com, "Smugglers abandon baby tiger in a bag along the Texas border," 1 May 2018 Up there with tiger tooth extraction and female bonobo ejaculation sampling is giving a pregnant shark an ultrasound. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "Some Unborn Sharks Swim from Uterus to Uterus Inside Their Mom," 7 Jan. 2019 But for men, a tiger-striped coat or leopard button-down still feels like a risk. Emily Farra, Vogue, "10 Trends We Expect to See in Men’s Street Style This Year," 2 Jan. 2019 The male tiger cub appeared to be three or four months old, officials said. Fox News, "Live tiger left inside duffel bag by smugglers trying to cross Rio Grande into US, officials say," 2 Oct. 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

14 Jun 2019

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 How to pronounce tiger (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on tiger

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tiger

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tiger

Spanish Central: Translation of tiger

Nglish: Translation of tiger for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tiger for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tiger

Comments on tiger

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


showing courage and determination

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