\ 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

But as Connecticut agriculture faded, the forests returned, so did the deer — and the Lyme disease-carrying ticks that feed on them. Gregory B. Hladky,, "Tick Season Is Here, But Precautions Can Cut Disease Risks," 4 May 2018 Two deer are present, listening to the teaching of the Buddha. Michael Walsh, Courant Community, "Tibetan Buddhist Monks Visit Copper Beech Institute," 24 Apr. 2018 Those were her feelings on one of her early designs, a pop-up deer head with visible folds, just like a kids' book. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "These Beautiful Peacock Lights Are Inspired By Pop-Up Books," 15 Nov. 2018 The title comes from a baby deer’s bleat during mating season. Megan Friedman, Country Living, "Carrie Underwood’s Husband Mike Fisher Released a Hilarious Parody of ‘Before He Cheats’," 6 Nov. 2018 One image shows an Awá hunter with a small deer on his back while holding his bow and arrows with a hunting dog following behind. Fox News, "Inside the Amazon’s ‘world’s most endangered tribe’ who bathes with turtles and and eats armadillos," 1 Oct. 2018 Drake, 45, is a gun owner, with a deer head mounted on his office wall. Molly Hennessy-fiske,, "Santa Fe, unlike Parkland, says the issue behind the latest school shooting isn't guns," 20 May 2018 The chandeliers, art and mounted deer heads are making the move from Bay View to the Harbor District, and Colleen Drew of DrewArt will be replicating the wall treatment. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Boone & Crockett's new (and bigger) home in Harbor District is near," 13 Apr. 2018 The company has nonetheless kept a low profile, supplying gun accessories and other gear to hunters, police and outdoor enthusiasts from its 110,000-square-foot facility, whose lobby is adorned with mounted deer heads and military paraphernalia. Robert Channick,, "As Illinois lawmakers pursue bump stock ban, Northbrook online retailer can't keep enough in stock," 16 Mar. 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.

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

17 Apr 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



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

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 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).


a sum of money that is sent as a payment

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
True or False

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

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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