\ ˈdir How to pronounce deer (audio) \
plural deer also deers

Definition of deer

1 : any of various slender-legged, even-toed, ruminant mammals (family Cervidae, the deer family) having usually brownish fur and deciduous antlers borne by the males of nearly all and by the females only of the caribou : cervid
2 archaic : animal especially : a small mammal

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Other Words from deer

deerlike \ ˈdir-​ˌlīk How to pronounce deerlike (audio) \ 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 Additionally, the surveys provide useful data regarding specific ecoregions, counties, deer management units and the amount of time spent hunting individual species. Dallas News, "Completing Texas Parks and Wildlife Department survey integral to management efforts," 23 May 2020 But in order to take advantage of the improved accuracy of everyday rifles and ammunition, more hunters are putting FFP scopes on their deer guns. John B. Snow, Field & Stream, "The Shooter’s Guide to First-Focal-Plane Scopes," 21 May 2020 Hutchison has since traveled the world on duck hunts in Argentina and axis deer in Hawaii, with plans for an Alaskan drop-camp caribou hunt. Joe Genzel, Outdoor Life, "A New Hunter’s Perspective on How the Old School Can Help," 21 May 2020 According to The Independent, farmers will be compensated about $88 per porcupine; $84 per civet cat; $11 per kilogram of bamboo rat; $17 per kilogram of cobra, king rattle or rat snakes; and $345 per wild goose or Chinese muntjac deer. Benjamin Vanhoose,, "China to Offer Buy-Outs to Farmers Raising Exotic Animals for Human Consumption: Report," 19 May 2020 Aside from her family, her boyfriend, a cousin and the family dog, the only audience members were two deer prancing in the background. Rachel Leingang, azcentral, "Amid pandemic, traditional college graduations replaced with new ways to mark occasion," 15 May 2020 Liu Yuanfei, who used to be a regular shopper at the Wuhan wholesale market where the virus is suspected to have emerged, recalls seeing live crocodiles, hedgehogs and deer there., "Deadly Virus Finds a Breeding Ground in China’s Food Markets," 8 May 2020 Geig’s and Richardson Farms sometimes deal with hungry deer, though hunting pressure and nearby highways keep populations in check. cleveland, "Area orchards spring into action to ensure summer fruit, fall favorites," 30 Apr. 2020 Poaching, overhunting, and consumption of wild animals as food or trade, combined with the loss of predators that keep host animals like mice and deer in check, accumulate risks. Dominick A. Dellasala, The New Republic, "Public Health Depends on a Healthy Planet," 20 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for deer

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for deer

Last Updated

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Deer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for deer


How to pronounce deer (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of deer

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


\ ˈdir How to pronounce deer (audio) \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on deer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with deer

Spanish Central: Translation of deer

Nglish: Translation of deer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of deer for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about deer

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