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

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)
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

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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Example sentences
The vampires and jackals of society began to trade on this obsession.
Jackals and hyenas are the scavengers of the land whereas vultures are the
  undisputed scavengers of the air.
There are also many foxes and some jackals in the small gorges around.
They sat around it smoking and talking, looking at the stars, wishing for home
  as wild dogs or jackals howled in the desert.
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