deers'

deer

[deer]
noun, plural deer (occasionally) deers.
1.
any of several ruminants of the family Cervidae, most of the males of which have solid, deciduous antlers.
2.
any of the smaller species of this family, as distinguished from the moose, elk, etc.

Origin:
before 900; Middle English der, Old English dēor beast; akin to Gothic dius beast, Old High German tior

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deer (dɪə)
 
n , pl deer, deers
1.  any ruminant artiodactyl mammal of the family Cervidae, including reindeer, elk, muntjacs, and roe deer, typically having antlers in the maleRelated: cervine
2.  (in N Canada) another name for caribou
 
Related: cervine
 
[Old English dēor beast; related to Old High German tior wild beast, Old Norse dӯr]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

deer
O.E. deor "animal, beast," from P.Gmc. *deuzan, the general Gmc. word for "animal" (as opposed to man), but often restricted to "wild animal" (cf. O.N. dyr, O.H.G. tior, Ger. Tier, Goth. dius), from PIE *dheusom "creature that breathes," from *dheus- (cf. Lith. dusti "gasp," dvesti "gasp, perish;" O.C.S.
dychati "breathe;" cf. L. animal from anima "breath"), from base *dheu-. Sense specialization to a specific animal began in O.E. (usual O.E. for what we now call a deer was heorot), common by 15c., now complete. Probably via hunting, deer being the favorite animal of the chase (cf. Skt. mrga- "wild animal," used especially for "deer"). Deer-lick is first attested 1778, in an American context; deerskin is from 1396.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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