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


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

And yes there are now ghost, koala, tiger, and T. rex Animojis. Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY, "Apple launches iOS 12 public beta: How it will change your iPhone and iPad," 25 June 2018 Other creatures that shared space with the deceased superstar include flamingoes, tigers and, most famously, Bubbles the chimpanzee, who now lives at Florida’s Center of Great Apes and enjoys painting. Kelli Bender, PEOPLE.com, "Michael Jackson's Former Neverland Ranch Elephant Escapes New Home at Florida Zoo," 18 June 2018 In Nepal, for example, tigers and people share the exact same trails in the forest at different times of day, reducing direct conflict between humans and these large carnivores. Kaitlyn Gaynor, CNN, "To avoid humans, more wildlife now work the night shift," 14 June 2018 Moon blurs the lines between Western and Eastern iconography — using characters from Angry Birds or emojis alongside Asian tigers and Indian gods. Matthew J. Palm, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Jiha Moon explores culture, identity and perception at the Mennello Museum," 9 June 2018 Just outside of town, the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge provides a safe haven for rescued exotic animals, including lions, tigers and bears, as well as guided walking and trolley tours, keeper talks and its own overnight safari lodging. Laura Kiniry, Smithsonian, "The 20 Best Small Towns To Visit in 2018," 5 June 2018 Residents in western Germany have been warned to stay indoors after two lions, two tigers and a jaguar broke out of their cages at a local zoo Friday, sparking a hunt. Kate Samuelson, Time, "Lions, Tigers and a Jaguar Escaped From a Zoo and Are on the Loose in Germany," 1 June 2018 Spencer Kornhaber: Samurais, tigers, and flamethrowers, oh my! Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Westworld: Ride the Tiger," 6 May 2018 The forest is now home to elephants, rhinos, tigers, and more, and Payeng must protect it from a new threat—the humans who want to use it for economic gain. National Geographic, "5 Times People Used Trees to Change the World," 21 Apr. 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

29 Nov 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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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).


to enclose within walls

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