1. (Science: zoology) 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.
The common species of southern asia (Canis aureus) is yellowish gray, varied with brown on the shoulders, haunches, and legs. The common african species (c. Anthus) is darker in colour.
2. One who does mean work for another's advantage, as jackals were once thought to kill game which lions appropriated.
Origin: Pers. Shaghal: cf. OF. Jackal, f. Chacal; cf. Skr. Cogala.