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[deer] /dɪər/
noun, plural deer (occasionally) deers.
any of several ruminants of the family Cervidae, most of the males of which have solid, deciduous antlers.
any of the smaller species of this family, as distinguished from the moose, elk, etc.
Origin of deer
before 900; Middle English der, Old English dēor beast; akin to Gothic dius beast, Old High German tior Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for deer
  • Reservations for salmon angling and deer hunting are gobbled up long before those seasons are under way.
  • It probably also helps to grow big enough to get beyond the reach of browsing deer.
  • We should probably do something about it rather than curse the deer for their existence.
  • Besides, at the time there was also growing concern that showing a tiger chasing a deer might be a bad idea.
  • When you garden in deer country, growing vegetables can be a real challenge.
  • They also eat such wildlife as deer and quail and feast on the eggs of endangered sea turtles.
  • Effective deer fences must be tall, and can be beautiful.
  • Furthermore, during the ecological pulses deer mice populations surged.
  • They know it will be the island's plentiful white-tailed deer.
  • The largest member of the deer family provides drag noticeable even on an industrial winch.
British Dictionary definitions for deer


noun (pl) deer, deers
any ruminant artiodactyl mammal of the family Cervidae, including reindeer, elk, muntjacs, and roe deer, typically having antlers in the male related adjective cervine
(in N Canada) another name for caribou
Word Origin
Old English dēor beast; related to Old High German tior wild beast, Old Norse dӯr
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for deer

Old English deor "animal, beast," from Proto-Germanic *deuzam, the general Germanic word for "animal" (as opposed to man), but often restricted to "wild animal" (cf. Old Frisian diar, Dutch dier, Old Norse dyr, Old High German tior, German Tier "animal," Gothic dius "wild animal," also cf. reindeer), from PIE *dheusom "creature that breathes," from root *dheu- (1) "cloud, breath" (cf. Lithuanian dusti "gasp," dvesti "gasp, perish;" Old Church Slavonic dychati "breathe").

For prehistoric sense development, cf. Latin animal from anima "breath"). Sense specialization to a specific animal began in Old English (usual Old English for what we now call a deer was heorot; see hart), common by 15c., now complete. Probably via hunting, deer being the favorite animal of the chase (cf. Sanskrit mrga- "wild animal," used especially for "deer"). Deer-lick is first attested 1778, in an American context.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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