Advertisement

cougar (n.)

large cat peculiar to the Americas, 1774, from French couguar, Buffon's adaption (influenced by jaguar) of a word the Portuguese picked up in Brazil as çuçuarana, perhaps from Tupi susuarana, from suasu "deer" + rana "false." Another proposed source is Guarani guaçu ara. Evidently the cedillas dropped off the word before Buffon got it. The cat also goes by the names puma, panther, mountain lion, and catamount

Slang sense of "older woman (35-plus) who seeks younger males as sex partners" is attested by 2002; said in some sources to have originated in Canada, probably from some reference to predatory feline nature.