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[reyn-deer] /ˈreɪnˌdɪər/
noun, plural reindeer (occasionally) reindeers.
any of several large deer of the genus Rangifer, of northern and arctic regions of Europe, Asia, and North America, both male and female of which have antlers.
Origin of reindeer
1350-1400; Middle English raynder(e) < Old Norse hreindȳri, equivalent to hreinn reindeer + dȳr animal (cognate with deer) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for reindeer
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Flaker knew that the reindeer dance was a prayer of the Cave-men to their gods.

    The Later Cave-Men Katharine Elizabeth Dopp
  • I have but ridden from the reindeer this morning, and so I am neither fatigued nor dusted.

    Victor's Triumph Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth
  • In the caves of France we find a number of fragments of reindeer horn.

    The Prehistoric World E. A. Allen
  • As the reindeer thought of his happy childhood, his eyes danced.

  • Where there were reindeer there would be herders, and herders lived in tents.

    The Purple Flame Roy J. Snell
British Dictionary definitions for reindeer


noun (pl) -deer, -deers
a large deer, Rangifer tarandus, having large branched antlers in the male and female and inhabiting the arctic regions of Greenland, Europe, and Asia. It also occurs in North America, where it is known as a caribou
Word Origin
C14: from Old Norse hreindӯri, from hreinn reindeer + dyr animal; related to Dutch rendier, German Rentier; see deer
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 reindeer

c.1400, from a Scandinavian source, cf. Old Norse hreindyri "reindeer," from dyr "animal" (see deer) + hreinn, by itself the usual name for the animal, from Proto-Germanic *khrinda- (cf. Old English hran "reindeer;" German Renn "reindeer," which was altered by folk etymology influence of rennen "to run;" Swedish ren-ko "female reindeer," with ko "cow" (n.)).

Probably from PIE *krei-, from base *ker- (1) "horn, head," with derivatives referring to horned animals (both male and female reindeer have horns; those of the male are remarkable), and thus perhaps cognate with Greek krios "ram" (see kerato-). Older sources connect it to words in Lapp or Finnish. French renne, Spanish reno, Italian renna ultimately are from Germanic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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