ter·​ri·​er | \ˈter-ē-ər, ˈte-rē-\

Definition of terrier 

: 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

Illustration of terrier

Examples of terrier in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The dog’s breed wasn’t discussed during the hearing, but Goodlow’s arrest report indicates the dog was a pit bull terrier. William Lee, chicagotribune.com, "$100K bail for man accused of beating, choking dog," 24 June 2018 After a few trips to the craft store and some experimenting with their own dogs, pit bull terriers Gia and Napoleon, the K9 Bath Buddy was born. Hannah Lang, charlotteobserver, "SC dogs become celebrities after 10 million watch their adorable bath time video," 30 May 2018 When Carter emerged from In-N-Out Burger on June 6, his van carrying 14 rat terriers, golden Labs, Rottweilers and other show dogs was missing, Redding police reported at the time. Cassie Dickman, sacbee, "Man arrested in theft of van carrying 14 show dogs; second suspect sought," 29 June 2018 Angela Alioto has eight dogs (terrier, toy poodle, two dachshunds, French bulldog, ridgeback, goldendoodle and cavapoo). Leah Garchik, San Francisco Chronicle, "City going to the dogs? Let us count the ways," 3 Apr. 2018 The list, which the social media company compiled based on a search of breed names in users’ posts, is strikingly different: pug, bulldog, terrier, Chihuahua and husky. Alex Williams, ajc, "Is your dog ready to be an Instagram star?," 25 Feb. 2018 Many flow as feisty as an overcaffeinated terrier during rainy times and then lie around in sandy pajamas the rest of the year. Roger Naylor, azcentral, "10 best hikes in Arizona show off state's diverse scenery," 13 July 2018 Zsa Zsa bested a terrier with dreadlocks named Scamp to take home the win. Alix Langone, Time, "Zsa Zsa, The World's Ugliest Dog, Has Died Just 9 Days After Securing Her Title," 10 July 2018 Godín is a terrier on the backline, and will relish the challenge of silencing the home crowd. Jonathan Tannenwald, Philly.com, "World Cup game times: Spain, Portugal look to win Group B, Russia-Uruguay to settle Group A," 24 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'terrier.' 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 terrier

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for terrier

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

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Statistics for terrier

Last Updated

7 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for terrier

The first known use of terrier was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for terrier



English Language Learners Definition of terrier

: a type of small dog originally used for hunting


ter·​ri·​er | \ˈter-ē-ər \

Kids Definition of terrier

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

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Comments on terrier

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


something that serves to warn or remind

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