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[jak-uh l, -awl] /ˈdʒæk əl, -ɔl/
any of several nocturnal wild dogs of the genus Canis, especially C. aureus, of Asia and Africa, that scavenge or hunt in packs.
a person who performs dishonest or base deeds as the follower or accomplice of another.
a person who performs menial or degrading tasks for another.
Origin of jackal
1595-1605; < alteration, by association with Jack, of Persian shag(h)āl; cognate with Sanskrit śṛgāla Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for jackal
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • While the lion and tiger were tearing each other, the jackal had run off into the jungle with the prey.

  • Chard and his jackal were seated in the latter's cabin on deck.

    Tessa Louis Becke
  • They are of a peculiarly hideous breed, closely resembling the jackal.

  • The jackal and the hyæna appear to shun the dull aspect of its tombs.

    Chaldea Znade A. Ragozin
  • jackal then went away, taking with him two portions of the flesh, one for his own wife, but the best part for the wife of Lion.

    South-African Folk-Tales James A. Honey
  • But the jackal does not terrify by such obvious methods as the lion.

    In Mesopotamia Martin Swayne
  • "Consider, though, their ingratitude to this excellent one," began the jackal tenderly.

    The Second Jungle Book Rudyard Kipling
  • This the jackal does, but the Cock tells the jackal he should also shut his eyes.

    Nights With Uncle Remus Joel Chandler Harris
  • You know they belong to the dog family, just as the wolf and jackal and hyena do.

British Dictionary definitions for jackal


any of several African or S Asian canine mammals of the genus Canis, closely related to the dog, having long legs and pointed ears and muzzle: predators and carrion-eaters
a person who does menial tasks for another
a villain, esp a swindler
Word Origin
C17: from Turkish chakāl, from Persian shagāl, from Sanskrit srgāla
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 jackal

c.1600, from Turkish çakal, from Persian shaghal, from or cognate with Sanskrit srgala-s, literally "the howler." Figurative sense of "skulking henchman" is from the old belief that jackals stirred up game for lions.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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