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From Turkish çakal, from Persian شغال ‎(šağâl), from Sanskrit सृगाल ‎(sṛgālá, jackal) [1]


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jackal ‎(plural jackals)

  1. Any of certain wild canids of the genus Canis, native to the tropical Old World and smaller than a wolf.
    • 1987, Brenda E. F. Beck, Peter J. Claus, Praphulladatta Goswami, Jawaharlal Handoo (editors), Folktales of India, page 289,
      In passing, it also mentions how the jackal and the tiger acquired their reddish spots. All of the animals referred to, except the deer, have tricksterlike personalities, both in this tale and in other story contexts. But the jackal is the most renowned of all for roguishness.
    • 2002, Fred H. Harrington, The Ethiopian Wolf, page 6,
      Until recently, scientists thought Ethiopian wolves were a type of jackal. They gave Ethiopian wolves names like Semien jackal, Simenian jackal, or Ethiopian jackal.
    • 2007, McComas Taylor, The Fall of the Indigo Jackal: The Discourse of Division and Pūrnabhadra's Pañcatantra, page 52,
      As we will see, the jackal is usually associated in the Indic context with death and impurity, and would therefore sit squarely at the bottom of Dumont's social hierarchy.
  2. A person who performs menial/routine tasks, a dogsbody.
  3. (pejorative) A person who behaves in an opportunistic way; especially a base collaborator.
  4. (slang, rare) A jack (the playing card.)



  • (any of certain wild canids of genus Canis): canid

Derived terms[edit]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ "jackal." Online Etymology Dictionary. 2008.


jackal ‎(third-person singular simple present jackals, present participle jackalling, simple past and past participle jackalled)

  1. To perform menial or routine tasks
    • 1800, Pamphlets on British Taxation[1]:
      They have jackalled for the great beast, to pick in turns the bones of each other; they have subserved those above, to oppress and defraud those below; and they are suffering, and, so far as classes can, justly suffering their purgation.