terrier

play
noun ter·ri·er \ˈter-ē-ər, ˈte-rē-\

Definition of terrier

  1. :  any of various usually small energetic dogs originally used by hunters to dig for small game and engage the quarry underground or drive it out

Illustration of terrier

Origin and Etymology of terrier

Middle English terryer, terrer, from Anglo-French (chen) terrer, literally, earth dog, from terre earth, from Latin terra


First Known Use: 15th century


TERRIER Defined for English Language Learners

terrier

play
noun ter·ri·er \ˈter-ē-ər, ˈte-rē-\

Definition of terrier for English Language Learners

  • : a type of small dog originally used for hunting


TERRIER Defined for Kids

terrier

play
noun ter·ri·er \ˈter-ē-ər\

Definition of terrier for Students

  1. :  a usually small dog originally used by hunters to force animals from their holes

History for terrier

Terriers were first used in hunting. Their job was to dig for small animals and force them from their holes. The word terrier comes from a medieval French phrase chen terrer (or chien terrier), literally, “earth dog.” The terr- in terrier comes ultimately from Latin terra, “earth.”



Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to link together in a series or chain

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • winning-words-from-the-national-spelling-bee-logo
  • Which is the correct spelling of the winning word from 1988?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!