From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Canis mesomelas (black-backed jackal)



From French chacal, chacale, checale, schakal, ciacale, from Turkish çakal, from Persian شغال (šağâl), borrowed from Sanskrit शृगाल (śṛgāla, jackal).[1]


English Wikipedia has an article on:
  • Audio (US):(file)
  • IPA(key): /ˈd͡ʒækəl/
  • Rhymes: -ækəl



jackal (plural jackals)

  1. Any of certain wild canids of the genera Lupulella and 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.
    • 1819 July 1, “The Political Vis——ss”, in [John Mitford], editor, The New Bon Ton Magazine; or, Telescope of the Times, volume III, number 15, London: [] J[oseph] Johnson, [], →OCLC, page 179:
      A nephew of hers, after receiving some learning at her ladyship's expence, got a commission, and fell upon the field of Waterloo; another is still at her heels, as a sort of jackall to fetch and carry when required.
  3. (derogatory) A person who behaves in an opportunistic way; especially a base collaborator.
  4. (slang, rare) A jack (the playing card).
  5. (rugby union) A player who steals the ball at the tackle.

Alternative forms



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



Derived terms



  • Japanese: ジャッカル (jakkaru)
  • Korean: 자칼 (jakal)
  • Malay: jakal
  • Thai: แจ็กคัล (jɛ̀k-kal)



See also



  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2024) “jackal”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.



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.