ter·​ri·​er | \ ˈter-ē-ər How to pronounce terrier (audio) , 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 big skies, evening light, and spindly branches outside the retreat center’s windows reminded me of walking my dog in our wooded St. Louis neighborhood after school as a kid—alone, except for a terrier and the stars flickering to life. Jenni Avins, Quartz, "A spiritual retreat actually transformed me," 28 Nov. 2019 After a fire began engulfing a home in the middle of the night, a Jack Russell terrier barked in alarm to help the family get out in time. Ryan Prior, CNN, "A Florida family mourns their dog after his barking saved them from a house fire," 18 Sep. 2019 The most serious incident occurred last month, when a pit bull terrier mix named Lil Red lunged at a resident while the dog was leashed near the building’s entrance. Cynthia Hubert, sacbee, "Despite lots of barking and one bad bite, dogs still welcome at winter homeless shelter | The Sacramento Bee," 18 Feb. 2018 Tramp is played by a 2-year-old terrier mix from Arizona named Monte, who was later adopted by one of the Hollywood animal trainers who scouted him. Helen Murphy, PEOPLE.com, "'Siamese Cat Song' Not in New Lady and the Tramp — and It's 'an Improvement,' Says Justin Theroux," 13 Nov. 2019 Animal: Chipara, an 8-year-old, 19-pound, female terrier mix. Linda Mcintosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Shelter pup loves going on walks," 7 Oct. 2019 The coach brought along his dog (not a terrier), who was wearing a tiny little hooded sweatshirt, just like Bill. Dan Gartland, SI.com, "Bill Belichick’s Dog Wears a Hoodie, Because of Course," 19 Apr. 2018 The terrier is thought to have been in this condition for about two weeks. Christine Dempsey, courant.com, "Sick dog, in pain, abandoned in Hamden, police say," 3 Sep. 2019 Once associated with gangs and dog fighting, the terriers are more and more seen as service dogs and family companions. Krista Kafer, The Denver Post, "Kafer: Will Aurora be the next Colorado city to ditch its unfair breed ban?," 11 July 2019

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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Time Traveler for terrier

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for terrier

Last Updated

5 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Terrier.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terrier. Accessed 12 December 2019.

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More Definitions for terrier


How to pronounce terrier (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of terrier

: a type of small dog originally used for hunting


ter·​ri·​er | \ ˈter-ē-ər How to pronounce terrier (audio) \

Kids Definition of terrier

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on terrier

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with terrier

Spanish Central: Translation of terrier

Nglish: Translation of terrier for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about terrier

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