AskDefine | Define jugular

Dictionary Definition

jugular adj : relating to or located in the region of the neck or throat; "jugular vein"


1 veins in the neck that return blood from the head [syn: jugular vein, vena jugularis]
2 a vital part that is vulnerable to attack; "he always goes for the jugular"

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Relating to or located near the neck or throat.


(rarely used in plural form)
  1. Vein through the neck (or thorax) that returns blood from the head back towards the heart. Properly this is called the jugular vein.
  2. By extension any critical vulnerability.
    It was vicious; he went for the jugular.


  • One of Lionel's old Salthill friends with whom he exchanged perhaps a dozen words a year, and with whom he sometimes played squash, and tennis, both men killers on the court, seeking the jugular [...]. - "Middle Age : A Romance" (2001) by Joyce Carol Oates (Fourth Estate, paperback edition, 83)



Extensive Definition

The jugular veins are veins that bring deoxygenated blood from the head back to the heart via the superior vena cava.

Cultural references

  • The jugular vein is the major point of damage when performing Jigai, a traditional way for Japanese women to commit suicide. This method was most commonly used because of its quick, painless, and certain outcome.
  • In popular culture, the jugular is stereotypically what dogs and other animals are thought to go after with the intent of killing another animal, generally because of the awareness that it will incapacitate the opponent with little effort.
  • "Fatal," a song from the Blade (film) soundtrack by RZA (an integral member of Wu-Tang Clan), refers to biting the jugular vein as a way to kill a foe.
  • NHL player Richard Zednik had his neck accidentally sliced by a teammate during a game on February 11, 2008. Though the teammate's skate blade barely missed the jugular vein (which would have probably killed him), Zednik lost five pints of blood.
  • NHL player Clint Malarchuk had a skate blade cut his jugular vein in what almost killed him.
  • The black-footed cat (Felis nigripes) is said to be able to pierce the jugular vein of a giraffe, though how it manages this extraordinary feat is unclear.


jugular in German: Vena jugularis
jugular in Estonian: Kägiveen
jugular in Spanish: Vena yugular
jugular in French: Veine jugulaire
jugular in Latin: Venae iugulares
jugular in Slovak: Hrdlová žila
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