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[kahy-oh-tee, kahy-oht] /kaɪˈoʊ ti, ˈkaɪ oʊt/
noun, plural coyotes (especially collectively) coyote.
Also called prairie wolf. a buffy-gray, wolflike canid, Canis latrans, of North America, distinguished from the wolf by its relatively small size and its slender build, large ears, and narrow muzzle.
Slang. a contemptible person, especially an avaricious or dishonest one.
American Indian Legend. the coyote regarded as a culture hero and trickster by American Indian tribes of the West.
Slang. a person who smuggles immigrants, especially Latin Americans, into the U.S. for a fee.
Origin of coyote
1825-35; earlier cuiota, cayota < Mexican Spanish coyote < Nahuatl coyōtl Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for coyote
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Must have been a coyote in here that sneaked off with your trousers, unless you have 'em on.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • "It was of that first treading that the Skin talked," agreed the coyote.

    The Trail Book Mary Austin
  • Why should a coyote, who is the least of all wolves, hunt for himself when he can find a man to follow?

    The Trail Book Mary Austin
  • But the coyote took him by the neck of his deerskin shirt and dragged him a little.

    The Trail Book Mary Austin
  • Like a coyote he would call at night, and though the Turk heard him, he dared not answer.

    The Trail Book Mary Austin
British Dictionary definitions for coyote


/ˈkɔɪəʊt; kɔɪˈəʊt; kɔɪˈəʊtɪ/
noun (pl) -otes, -ote
Also called prairie wolf. a predatory canine mammal, Canis latrans, related to but smaller than the wolf, roaming the deserts and prairies of North America
(in Native American legends of the West) a trickster and culture hero represented as a man or as an animal
Word Origin
C19: from Mexican Spanish, from Nahuatl coyotl
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for coyote

1759, American English, from Mexican Spanish coyote, from Nahuatl coyotl.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for coyote



A person who smuggles illegal immigrants across the Mexican-US border: the ''coyotes,'' the smugglers who bribe or otherwise contrive to get their charges past border authorities (1920s+) coyote ugly

adjective phrase

Extremely ugly or nasty; piss-ugly, ugly as catshit: I had a coyote ugly date (1980s+ Students)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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