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See more synonyms for deer on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural deer, (occasionally) deers.
  1. any of several ruminants of the family Cervidae, most of the males of which have solid, deciduous antlers.
  2. any of the smaller species of this family, as distinguished from the moose, elk, etc.
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Origin of deer

before 900; Middle English der, Old English dēor beast; akin to Gothic dius beast, Old High German tior
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Examples from the Web for deers

Historical Examples

  • The hill riding was of the roughest, and the cattle were wild as deers and as agile.

    A Texas Ranger

    William MacLeod Raine

  • In case of a lack of blubber, deers marrow may be used for fuel.

  • Uncertainly, her head drawn back as a deers is when surprised, she glanced about her.

    The Monster

    Edgar Saltus

  • And they made them hold rattles of deers' claws on their arms.

  • With deers, hares, falcons, the fields of my people are full.

British Dictionary definitions for deers


noun plural deer or deers
  1. any ruminant artiodactyl mammal of the family Cervidae, including reindeer, elk, muntjacs, and roe deer, typically having antlers in the maleRelated adjective: cervine
  2. (in N Canada) another name for caribou
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Word Origin

Old English dēor beast; related to Old High German tior wild beast, Old Norse dӯr
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for deers



Old English deor "animal, beast," from Proto-Germanic *deuzam, the general Germanic word for "animal" (as opposed to man), but often restricted to "wild animal" (cf. Old Frisian diar, Dutch dier, Old Norse dyr, Old High German tior, German Tier "animal," Gothic dius "wild animal," also cf. reindeer), from PIE *dheusom "creature that breathes," from root *dheu- (1) "cloud, breath" (cf. Lithuanian dusti "gasp," dvesti "gasp, perish;" Old Church Slavonic dychati "breathe").

For prehistoric sense development, cf. Latin animal from anima "breath"). Sense specialization to a specific animal began in Old English (usual Old English for what we now call a deer was heorot; see hart), common by 15c., now complete. Probably via hunting, deer being the favorite animal of the chase (cf. Sanskrit mrga- "wild animal," used especially for "deer"). Deer-lick is first attested 1778, in an American context.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper