from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A large powerful wild cat (Puma concolor syn. Felis concolor) chiefly of mountainous regions of the Americas, having an unmarked tawny body and a long tail.
  • noun Slang A woman, especially one over 30, who romantically pursues or attracts younger men.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Several species and subspecies of cougar have been recognized by naturalists, the Florida animal being known as Felis coryi and that from the northwest coast region as F. oregonensis. The southern form retains the name F. concolor: the type locality for this species is Brazil.
  • noun A large concolorous feline carnivorous quadruped peculiar to America, Felis concolor, belonging to the family Felidæ and order Feræ.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Zoöl.) An American feline quadruped (Felis concolor), resembling the African panther in size and habits. Its color is tawny, without spots; hence writers often called it the American lion. Called also puma, panther, mountain lion, and catamount. See puma.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A mountain lion; Puma concolor.
  • noun North America, slang A woman of middle age who actively seeks the casual, often sexual, companionship of younger males, typically less than 35 years old; by implication a “sexual predator”.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun large American feline resembling a lion


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French couguar, alteration (influenced by jaguar, jaguar) of Portuguese çuçuarana, from Tupí suasuarana : suasú, deer + rana, like (from its color).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

French cougar, from Brazilian Portuguese suçuarana, perhaps from Tupian (suasuarana ("deerlike animal"), from suasú ("deer"); compare sɨwasuarána ("cervine")) or perhaps form Guaraní (guaçuara).


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  • Also, an older woman who preys on younger men.

    November 26, 2007

  • Preys? Is it nearly so diabolical?

    November 26, 2007

  • Clearly you have never met a cougar; it's part of the package. If you don't feel preyed upon, she's not a cougar. Or coug, as my Canadian friends more frequently put it.

    November 27, 2007

  • So an older woman who likes younger men (and is in a reciprocating relationship) wouldn't qualify then?

    November 27, 2007

  • I think this is a subject of debate, and that the debates take place mostly in bars. But my understanding is that the coug, like her namesake, is a hunter. An age differential is necessary but not sufficient. I've also heard (drunk) Canadians discourse on finer points, such as attire, preferred drink, etc., but I'll leave those details to someone more in the know than I.

    November 27, 2007

  • Yes, I'm quite sure cougars are required to wear last year's business attire, and alternate between scotch and mimosa, depending on the day of the week.

    November 27, 2007

  • Perhaps because I'm not drunk at the moment, I can't help re: drink and attire, but I agree that an element of predation is required to define an older woman as a cougar. I suppose the same effect could be produced by a really staggering degree of naivety in the younger man, rendering any woman a comparative predator. But a simple age difference of, say, 10 to 15 years is not sufficient by itself.

    November 27, 2007

  • “The Grumman F9F/F-9 Cougar was an aircraft carrier-based fighter aircraft for the United States Navy. Based on the earlier Grumman F9F Panther, the Cougar replaced the Panther's straight wing with a more modern swept wing. The Navy considered the Cougar an updated version of the Panther, despite having a different official name, and thus Cougars started off from F9F-6 upwards.�? More on Wikipedia.

    December 30, 2008

  • in current usage a cougar refers to an older woman who prefers the company of younger men.

    Bob found his inexperience with women was an advantage at the cougar bar.

    April 8, 2009

  • Older, single woman on the prowl.

    June 9, 2009