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The jackal was traditionally supposed to go in front of the lion and hunt up prey for him, and from this was called the lion's provider.

The name is recorded in English from the early 17th century; by the end of the century, it was used to denote a person seen as behaving like a jackal, especially one in a subservient relation to another. More recently, it has acquired connotations of cunning and treachery.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.

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