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[juhg-yuh-ler, joo-gyuh-] /ˈdʒʌg yə lər, ˈdʒu gyə-/
  1. of or relating 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.
Origin of jugular
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. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for jugular
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Bleeding locally, however, is far less effectual than the jugular operation.

    Diseases of the Horse's Foot Harry Caulton Reeks
  • The rifle had missed his jugular vein by little more than an inch.

    Bloom of Cactus Robert Ames Bennet
  • Early in the speech the whole object of the Macedonian threat is made apparent—the jugular veins of Athens, her trade-routes.

    Authors of Greece T. W. Lumb
  • The mouth of the strange animal was resting upon his jugular vein.

    The Desert Home Mayne Reid
  • The elephant did not fall, but he had his death blow the ball had severed his jugular, and the blood poured from the wound.

British Dictionary definitions for 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 jugular

1590s, "pertaining to the throat or neck" (especially in reference to the great veins of the neck), from Modern Latin jugularis, from Latin iugulum "collarbone, throat, neck," diminutive of iugum "yoke," related to iungere "to join," from PIE *yeug- "to join" (cf. Sanskrit yugam "yoke," yunjati "binds, harnesses," yogah "union;" Hittite yugan "yoke;" Greek zygon "yoke," zeugnyanai "to join, unite;" Old Church Slavonic igo, Old Welsh iou "yoke;" Lithuanian jungas "yoke," jungiu "fastened in a yoke;" Old English geoc "yoke;" probably also Latin iuxta "close by"). As a noun, 1610s, from the adjective.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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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 jugular



  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 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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