Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of several doglike mammals of the genus Canis of Africa and southern Asia that are mainly foragers feeding on plants, small animals, and occasionally carrion.
  • n. An accomplice or a lackey who aids in the commission of base or disreputable acts.
  • n. One who performs menial tasks for another.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of several wild canine species, native to the tropical Old World, smaller than a wolf.
  • n. A person who performs menial/routine tasks, dogsbody
  • n. A person who behaves in an opportunistic way; especially a base collaborator.
  • n. A jack (the playing card.)
  • v. To perform menial or routine tasks

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any one of several species of carnivorous animals inhabiting Africa and Asia, related to the dog and wolf. They are cowardly, nocturnal, and gregarious. They feed largely on carrion, and are noted for their piercing and dismal howling.
  • n. One who does mean work for another's advantage, as jackals were once thought to kill game which lions appropriated.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A kind of wild dog somewhat resembling a fox, which inhabits Asia and Africa; one of several species of old-world fox-like Canidæ, of the genus Canis, as C. aureus of Asia, or C. anthus of Africa.
  • n. Hence Any one who does dirty work for another; one who meanly serves the purpose of another.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. Old World nocturnal canine mammal closely related to the dog; smaller than a wolf; sometimes hunts in a pack but usually singly or as a member of a pair

Etymologies

Turkish chakāl, from Persian shaghāl, from Middle Indic shagāl, from Sanskrit śṛgālaḥ.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Turkish çakal, from Persian شغال (šağâl), from Sanskrit सृगाल (sṛgālá, "jackal") (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • from Persian shagh�?l, ultimately from Sanskrit sṛg�?laḥ. Any of several doglike mammals of the genus Canis of Africa and southern Asia that are mainly foragers feeding on plants, small animals, and occasionally carrion.

    August 30, 2009

  • a dishonest, base person

    August 22, 2008