\ˈdir \
plural deer also deers

Definition of deer 

1 archaic : animal especially : a small mammal

2 : any of numerous, slender-legged, even-toed, ruminant mammals (family Cervidae, the deer family) having usually brownish fur and antlers borne by the males of nearly all and by the females of a few forms

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Other Words from deer

deerlike \ -​ˌlīk \ adjective

Did You Know?

The meaning of a word often develops from the general to the specific. For instance, deer is used in modern English to mean several related forms of an animal species, including white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, and moose. The Old English deor, however, could refer to any animal, tame or wild, or to wild animals in general. In time, deer came to be used only for wild animals that were hunted, and then for the red deer, once widely hunted in England. From that usage the term has spread to related animals, becoming somewhat more general again.

Examples of deer in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Usually by the time regular deer hunting season opens, the velvet-like covering is no longer on the antler. Alexandra Deabler, Fox News, "Tennessee allows first-ever 'velvet buck' hunt," 20 Aug. 2018 The southern 2 miles of the trail are closed from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31, and the entire trail is closed during gun deer hunting season. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin's highest point - Timm's Hill - is a quiet escape away from everything," 5 July 2018 Owen is a lot more mature this year, not so much a deer in the headlights coming off the draft and stuff. Matthew Defranks,, "Panthers' Owen Tippett working on defensive side of game as another shot at NHL nears," 29 June 2018 As a female deer paced back and forth in a backyard, a neighbor knew something was wrong and called the Yorkville Police Department. Megan Jones, Aurora Beacon-News, "Yorkville police officer rescues fawn from foundation of house under construction," 7 June 2018 Two decades of wildlife management have helped the Circle J&B Ranch gain a reputation for quail, dove, turkey and deer hunting. Gordon Dickson, star-telegram, "This ranch will make you fall in love with west Texas, and it's for sale," 29 May 2018 Webb County is one of the biggest deer-hunting counties in the state. Vanesa Brashier, Houston Chronicle, "Liberty County welcomes new game warden," 25 May 2018 At the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, Steve Lightfoot replied by email that in 2018, the Texas dove hunting and deer hunting seasons begin on Saturdays: Sept. 1 and Nov. 3, respectively. W. Gardner Selby, San Antonio Express-News, "Lupe Valdez’s claim that Texas schools in some counties shut for opening of hunting season off the mark," 19 May 2018 The Oregon troopers later found a headless deer near the location where the truck had been photographed. Author: Evan Bush, Anchorage Daily News, "Over 100 charges filed in probe of Pacific Northwest wildlife poaching ring," 17 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'deer.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of deer

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for deer

Middle English, deer, animal, from Old English dēor beast; akin to Old High German tior wild animal, Lithuanian dvasia breath, spirit

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Statistics for deer

Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for deer

The first known use of deer was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for deer



English Language Learners Definition of deer

: a large wild animal that has four long thin legs, brown fur, and antlers if male


\ˈdir \
plural deer

Kids Definition of deer

: a mammal that has cloven hoofs and in the male antlers which are often branched

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