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[juhg-yuh-ler, joo-gyuh-] /ˈdʒʌg yə lər, ˈdʒu gyə-/
  1. of or pertaining to the throat or neck.
  2. noting or pertaining to any of certain large veins of the neck, especially one (external jugular vein) collecting blood from the superficial parts of the head or one (internal jugular vein) collecting blood from within the skull.
(of a fish) having the pelvic fins at the throat, before the pectoral fins.
Anatomy. a jugular vein.
go for the jugular, to attack a vital and vulnerable trait, feature, element, etc., in an attempt to overcome somebody or something swiftly and totally:
The defense attorney went right for the jugular by attempting to destroy the witness's credibility.
1590-1600; < Late Latin jugulāris, equivalent to Latin jugul(um) throat (see jugulate) + -āris -ar1
Related forms
interjugular, adjective
postjugular, adjective
subjugular, adjective
Can be confused
juggler, jugular. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for go for the jugular


of, relating to, or situated near the throat or neck
of, having, or denoting pelvic fins situated in front of the pectoral fins a jugular fish
short for jugular vein
go for the jugular, to make a savage and destructive attack on an enemy's weakest point
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin jugulāris, from Latin jugulum throat
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for go for the jugular
1597, from Mod.L. jugularis, from L. jugulum "collarbone, throat, neck," dim. of jugum "yoke," related to iungere "to join," from PIE *yeug- "to join" (cf. Skt. yugam "yoke," yunjati "binds, harnesses," yogah "union;" Hittite yugan "yoke;" Gk. zygon "yoke," zeugnyanai "to join, unite;" O.C.S. igo, O.Welsh iou "yoke;" Lith. jungas "yoke," jungiu "fastened in a yoke;" O.E. geoc "yoke;" probably also L. iuxta "close by").
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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go for the jugular in Medicine

jugular jug·u·lar (jŭg'yə-lər)
Of, relating to, or located in the region of the neck or throat. n.
A jugular vein.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for go for the jugular

go for the jugular

verb phrase

To compete in dead earnest; give or take no quarter: They were a tough team that always went for the jugular

[1980s+; fr the jugular vein in the neck, severance of which is usually fatal; the image is of a wolf or other attacking animal]


  1. Bent on destruction; ruthless; savage; cutthroat: inert and inept troop of Democrats unable to beat back an aroused and jugular band of Republicans
  2. Vital; crucial; life-and-death: a jugular issue for the industry/ Barbara has a very strong respect for power and position. She will not ask the ultimate jugular question

[1960s+; based on the phrase go for the jugular]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with go for the jugular
see: go for , def. 4.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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