deer

noun
\ ˈdir \
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 \ 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

To the north, endless tangles of brush make up 1,700 acres of wildlife reserve, home to bunnies and deer alike. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "Farm-Fresh Flowers and Lobster Rolls Aplenty: Marlo Laz’s Jeweler Gives Her Guide to Nantucket," 7 Sep. 2018 Now, with several designs, including the deer, owl, peacock, and various cacti, her dream of helping others create a magical ambiance at home is a reality. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "These Beautiful Peacock Lights Are Inspired By Pop-Up Books," 15 Nov. 2018 The study from Utah State confirms that deer are a major problem. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Humans And Deer Are Killing Earth's Largest Organism Together," 18 Oct. 2018 That includes sharing how the state’s strict hunting guidelines keep species like deer in equilibrium with their habitats. Michigan Wildlife Council, Detroit Free Press, "Goodwill hunting: How Michigan hunters are helping to feed needy families," 12 June 2018 In the case of smaller prey, like deer, wolves will go straight for the throat, biting at the neck in hopes of severing the jugular. Josh Dean, Esquire, "America's 10 Toughest Animals," 2 June 2015 Water deer inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas. Andrew Jeong, WSJ, "If You Think North Korea Is a Wild Place, Check Out the DMZ," 3 Dec. 2018 Antelope, deer, and pig bones were found with the tools. Ann Gibbons, Science | AAAS, "Our ancestors may have left Africa hundreds of thousands of years earlier than thought," 11 July 2018 Unlike most Native Americans, the Kumeyaay Ipai did not draw representational images of hunters or deer, mountain lions and other wild animals. Diane Bell, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Discovery of hidden drawings puts Poway Native American art in a class of its own," 9 July 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

23 Jan 2019

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

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 \
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

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about deer

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