deer

Deer \Deer\ (d[=e]r), n. sing. & pl. [OE. der, deor, animal, wild animal, AS. de['o]r; akin to D. dier, OFries. diar, G. thier, tier, Icel. d[=y]r, Dan. dyr, Sw. djur, Goth. dius; of unknown origin. [root]71.] 1. Any animal; especially, a wild animal. [Obs.] --Chaucer. [1913 Webster] Mice and rats, and such small deer. --Shak. [1913 Webster] The camel, that great deer. --Lindisfarne MS. [1913 Webster] 2. (Zo["o]l.) A ruminant of the genus {Cervus}, of many species, and of related genera of the family {Cervid[ae]}. The males, and in some species the females, have solid antlers, often much branched, which are shed annually. Their flesh, for which they are hunted, is called {venison}. [1913 Webster] Note: The deer hunted in England is {Cervus elaphus}, called also stag or {red deer}; the fallow deer is {Cervus dama}; the common American deer is {Cervus Virginianus}; the blacktailed deer of Western North America is {Cervus Columbianus}; and the mule deer of the same region is {Cervus macrotis}. See {Axis}, {Fallow deer}, {Mule deer}, {Reindeer}. [1913 Webster] Note: Deer is much used adjectively, or as the first part of a compound; as, deerkiller, deerslayer, deerslaying, deer hunting, deer stealing, deerlike, etc. [1913 Webster] {Deer mouse} (Zo["o]l.), the white-footed mouse ({Peromyscus leucopus}, formerly {Hesperomys leucopus}) of America. {Small deer}, petty game, not worth pursuing; -- used metaphorically. (See citation from Shakespeare under the first definition, above.) ``Minor critics . . . can find leisure for the chase of such small deer.'' --G. P. Marsh. [1913 Webster]