February 03, 2019
jaguar (noun)
\JAG-wahr\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: a large yellowish brown black-spotted cat of tropical America that is larger and has a more solid build than the leopard
How do you use it?
The nature program used video and photos of the leopard, the cheetah, and the jaguar to point out the differences in the three spotted cats.
Are you a word wiz?

In which of these languages do you think the word "jaguar" originated?

Answer C is spot-on. "Jaguar" comes from the Tupi word "jawara," meaning "large carnivore," and came to English via Portuguese. The name of another powerful cat, "cougar," can likewise be traced to the Tupi family of languages, though it found its way to English through French. Other animal names deriving from Tupi are "capybara" and "cavy," both names of rodents. To the bird world, Tupi contributed names for the large-billed bird called the "toucan" and the brightly colored bird called the "tanager." "Piranha," the name of the ferocious fish, also comes from Tupi.
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