[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. jack-tar,
  2. jack-the-lad,
  3. jack-the-rags,
  4. jack-up,
  5. jack-up rig,
  6. jackanapes,
  7. jackaroo,
  8. jackass,
  9. jackass bark,
  10. jackass brig

Origin of jackal

1595–1605; < alteration, by association with Jack, of Persian shag(h)āl; cognate with Sanskrit śṛgāla

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for jackal

British Dictionary definitions for jackal


/ (ˈdʒækɔːl) /


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 for jackal

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

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