jackal

[jak-uhl, -awl]
noun
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.

Origin:
1595–1605; < alteration, by association with Jack, of Persian shag(h)āl; cognate with Sanskrit śṛgāla

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World English Dictionary
jackal (ˈdʒækɔːl)
 
n
1.  any of several African or S Asian canine mammals of the genus Canis, closely related to the dog, having long legs and pointed ears and muzzle: predators and carrion-eaters
2.  a person who does menial tasks for another
3.  a villain, esp a swindler
 
[C17: from Turkish chakāl, from Persian shagāl, from Sanskrit srgāla]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

jackal
c.1600, from Turk. çakal, from Pers. shaghal, from Skt. srgala-s, lit. "the howler." Figurative sense of "skulking henchman" is from the old belief that jackals stirred up game for lions.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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