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

Recent Examples of terrier from the Web

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.

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


TERRIER Defined for English Language Learners

terrier

play
noun

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.”



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