Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

reindeer

[reyn-deer]
noun, plural rein·deer, (occasionally) rein·deers.
  1. any of several large deer of the genus Rangifer, of northern and arctic regions of Europe, Asia, and North America, both male and female of which have antlers.
Show More

Origin of reindeer

1350–1400; Middle English raynder(e) < Old Norse hreindȳri, equivalent to hreinn reindeer + dȳr animal (cognate with deer)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for reindeer

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • But of all the beasts that begged to do him service, Claus liked the reindeer best.

  • Certainly, if the Reindeer had a fault, it was that it was too clean.

    Henry Dunbar

    M. E. Braddon

  • Mr. Vincent left the Reindeer, and Clement went to his mother's room.

    Henry Dunbar

    M. E. Braddon

  • I have but ridden from the Reindeer this morning, and so I am neither fatigued nor dusted.

    Victor's Triumph

    Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth

  • "We must go to the old Reindeer and hire their hack," said Mr. Lyle.

    Victor's Triumph

    Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth


British Dictionary definitions for reindeer

reindeer

noun plural -deer or -deers
  1. a large deer, Rangifer tarandus, having large branched antlers in the male and female and inhabiting the arctic regions of Greenland, Europe, and Asia. It also occurs in North America, where it is known as a caribou
Show More

Word Origin

C14: from Old Norse hreindӯri, from hreinn reindeer + dyr animal; related to Dutch rendier, German Rentier; see deer
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 reindeer

n.

c.1400, from a Scandinavian source, cf. Old Norse hreindyri "reindeer," from dyr "animal" (see deer) + hreinn, by itself the usual name for the animal, from Proto-Germanic *khrinda- (cf. Old English hran "reindeer;" German Renn "reindeer," which was altered by folk etymology influence of rennen "to run;" Swedish ren-ko "female reindeer," with ko "cow" (n.)).

Probably from PIE *krei-, from base *ker- (1) "horn, head," with derivatives referring to horned animals (both male and female reindeer have horns; those of the male are remarkable), and thus perhaps cognate with Greek krios "ram" (see kerato-). Older sources connect it to words in Lapp or Finnish. French renne, Spanish reno, Italian renna ultimately are from Germanic.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper