deer

noun \ ˈdir \
Updated on: 14 Nov 2017

Definition of deer

plural deer also deers
1 archaic :animal; especially :a small mammal
2 :any of numerous slender-legged 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

deerlike

play \-ˌlīk\ adjective

Recent Examples of deer from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of deer

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

Other Mammals Terms


DEER Defined for English Language Learners

deer

noun

Definition of deer for English Language Learners

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


DEER Defined for Kids

deer

noun \ ˈdir \

Definition of deer for Students

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


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