deer

noun
\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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

In a display of costume-style designs, animal totems were the order of the day. Oversized fur headpieces, deer antlers and bear head sculptures merged with giant synthetic lacing and yeti-style fringed footwear with architectural metal heels. Washington Post, "Chanel’s new designer, Viard, unveils couture debut in Paris," 2 July 2019 But that surprise may have done more than just turbocharge deer antler growth. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Cancer genes help deer antlers grow," 20 June 2019 After some reading, my husband came up with deer antlers as a possible solution. Joan Morris, The Mercury News, "Will duck that built her nest close to a busy road need help?," 17 June 2019 Having big guys who can run the floor like a deer, that’s a real big advantage. Rick Bonnell, charlotteobserver, "Charlotte Hornets have a rim-protection problem; will they draft a shot-blocker?," 4 June 2019 As many as 400 people harvested fish and mussels from the river, hunted deer and other game along its banks, and raised crops on its fertile floodplain. Nick Woltman, Twin Cities, "St. Paul owes its existence to the Mississippi River," 22 June 2019 High-end Roman houses had only small glass windows, so the interiors were enlivened by frescoes—often of food or animals destined for the table, like the villa’s painting of ducks and trussed deer. Peter Saenger, WSJ, "Preserved by a Fiery Disaster," 21 June 2019 In regular deer, the researchers found eight active genes that are normally involved in promoting tumor formation and growth. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Cancer genes help deer antlers grow," 20 June 2019 Remember that a lot of genes that exist in cows and goats and deer and sheep also exist in humans. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "Wildebeest! Okapi! Giraffe! Ibex! Come Peruse Their Genomes," 20 June 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about deer

Statistics for deer

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for deer

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for deer

deer

noun

English Language Learners Definition of deer

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

deer

noun
\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about deer

Comments on deer

What made you want to look up deer? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

providing supplementary assistance

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!