J j


Jackal    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  1. any of various wild dog-like mammals of the genus Canis, esp. C. aureus, found in Africa and S Asia, usually hunting or scavenging for food in packs.  2. colloquial a) a person who does preliminary drudgery for another; b) a person who assists another’s immoral behaviour.

Our definition:  To use the name of a non-human animal as an insult for humans only serves to perpetuate negative stereotypes of that particular animal and does not, of course, meet with our approval.  Here is the true definition of the word jackal:


click the pic for African Wildlife Foundation

The jackal is a small omnivorous mammal of the genus Canis, which also includes the wolf and dog. While the word “jackal” has historically been used for many small canids, in modern use it most commonly refers to three species: the closely related black-backed jackal and side-striped jackal of sub-Saharan Africa, and the golden jackal of south-central Eurasia.

Jackals and coyotes (sometimes called the “American jackal”) are opportunistic omnivores, predators of small- to medium-sized animals and proficient scavengers. Their long legs and curved canine teeth are adapted for hunting small mammals, birds, and reptiles, and their large feet and fused leg bones give them a physique well-suited for long-distance running, capable of maintaining speeds of 16 km/h (9.9 mph) for extended periods of time. Jackals are crepuscular, most active at dawn and dusk.

Their most common social unit is a monogamous pair, who defend their territory from other pairs by vigorously chasing intruding rivals and marking landmarks around the territory with their urine and faeces.  The territory may be large enough to hold some young adults, which stay with their parents until they establish their own territories.  Jackals may occasionally assemble in small packs, for example, to scavenge a carcass, but they normally hunt either alone or in pairs.

jackal too

 Jackass  noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  1. male ass.  2. a stupid person.

Our definition:  As with jackal, it is not fair on the lovely jackass to use his name as an insult for humans.  In fact asses, or donkeys, are known to be intelligent, cautious, friendly, playful, and eager to learn.


See the Dd page for the full definition of donkey.

6 thoughts on “J j

  1. I dislike the way humans refer to other humans in terms of a nonhuman animal to mean something negative or degrading. Take the 2nd and 3rd definitions of the word Jackal, for example:

    [jak-uhl, -awl]
    1.any of several nocturnal wild dogs of the genus Canis, especially C. aureus, of Asia and Africa, that scavenge or hunt in packs.
    2.a person who performs dishonest or base deeds as the follower or accomplice of another.
    3.a person who performs menial or degrading tasks for another.

    Could this word be redefined, please?


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