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Syllabification: ti·ger
Pronunciation: /ˈtīɡər

Definition of tiger in English:


1A very large solitary cat with a yellow-brown coat striped with black, native to the forests of Asia but becoming increasingly rare.
  • Panthera tigris, family Felidae
Example sentences
  • Boller estimates there may be as many as 400 to 500 lions, tigers, and other big cats in the Houston area alone.
  • The burgeoning trade in bones and body parts for use in folk medicines threatens tigers and other big cats.
  • Next door is the Night Safari where, between 7.30 pm and midnight, you can watch buffalo, deer, tigers and fishing cats as they come out to feed.
1.1Used to refer to someone fierce, determined, or ambitious: despite his wound, he still fought like a tiger one of the sport’s young tigers
More example sentences
  • As it happens, Cato is a fierce tiger when it comes to advocating for oppressed tobacco firms.
  • She growled, like a fierce tiger about to rip its pray to smithereens.
  • Angela stepped up now, as blunt and determined as a pacing tiger.
1.2 (also tiger economy) A dynamic economy of one of the smaller eastern Asian countries, especially that of Singapore, Taiwan, or South Korea.
Example sentences
  • ‘For an emergent tiger economy, the Philippines is back once more to being the sick man of Asia,’ she said.
  • As with the two most important East Asian tigers, South Korea and Taiwan, state direction was used to build up basic industries while massive repression kept living standards down.
  • When they were at the same stage of development as India is now, Asian tigers like South Korea, Taiwan, and China focused on elementary and secondary schools.


Middle English: from Old French tigre, from Latin tigris, from Greek.


have a tiger by the tail

Have embarked on a course of action that proves unexpectedly difficult but that cannot easily or safely be abandoned.
Example sentences
  • The Chinese are riding a tiger, and can't easily get off.
  • On both occasions politicians, academics and bureaucrats found themselves riding a tiger of unanticipated national emotion.
  • If things work out and you become an institution, how long will it be before you're riding a tiger and can't get off?

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Pronunciation: vəːˈbəʊs
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