terrier

noun

ter·​ri·​er ˈter-ē-ər How to pronounce terrier (audio)
ˈte-rē-
: 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 Wild Thang, meanwhile, has helped raise money to evacuate seven of his fellow Pekingese from Ukraine, and another competitor, Ozzie – a 10-year-old terrier mix – visits senior centers and takes care of foster kittens. Issy Ronald, CNN, 24 June 2024 Last year, Hobie, a one-eyed terrier mix, chose to donate to PUP Laguna Beach, the fundraising arm of Laguna Beach Animal Shelter — the shelter that helped Hobie find a family. Kelli Bender, Peoplemag, 20 June 2024 Rosco, a 3-year-old brindle terrier mix, was at an Ohio shelter for 132 long days, which started to chip away at his energetic and loving personality, the Jefferson County Animal Shelter said in a June 9 post on Facebook. Tj MacIas, Kansas City Star, 14 June 2024 The 3-year-old terrier mix had reportedly escaped from an auto garage where Mehrad was working in July, and never returned. Evan Rosen, New York Daily News, 5 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for terrier 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'terrier.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near terrier

Cite this Entry

“Terrier.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terrier. Accessed 14 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

terrier

noun
ter·​ri·​er ˈter-ē-ər How to pronounce terrier (audio)
: any of various usually small energetic dogs originally used by hunters to drive game animals from their holes
Etymology

Middle English terryer "a small dog used for hunting burrowing animals," from early French (chen) terrer, literally "earth dog," from terre "earth," derived from Latin terra (same meaning)

Word Origin
Today most terriers are kept as pets. However, there was a time when the dogs were widely used for hunting. Terriers are usually small dogs with short legs, and they were used to dig game animals such as foxes, badgers, and weasels out of their holes. The dogs were also trained to go into a hole after a game animal and drive it out. The French name for these dogs was chen terrer, meaning "earth dog." English borrowed only the word terrier, which can be traced back to Latin terra, meaning "earth."

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