Deer (singular and plural) are the hoofed ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. The two main groups are the Cervinae, including the muntjac, the elk (wapiti), the fallow deer and the chital, and the Capreolinae, including the reindeer (caribou), the roe deer and the moose. Female reindeer, and male deer of all species except the Chinese water deer, grow and shed new antlers each year. In this they differ from permanently horned antelope, which are part of a different family (Bovidae) within the same order of even-toed ungulates (Artiodactyla).
The musk deer of Asia and water chevrotain of tropical African and Asian forests are not usually regarded as true deer and form their own families: Moschidae and Tragulidae, respectively.
Deer appear in art from Paleolithic cave paintings onwards, and they have played a role in mythology, religion, and literature throughout history, as well as in heraldry. Their economic importance includes the use of their meat as venison, their skins as soft, strong buckskin, and their antlers as handles for knives. Deer hunting has been a popular activity since at least the Middle Ages and remains resourceful for many families today.
A male roe deer.
A ruminant mammal with hooves of the family Cervidae, or one of several similar animals from related families of the order Artiodactyla.
One of the smaller animals of this family, distinguished from a moose or elk.
“I wrecked my car after a deer ran across the road.”
The meat of such an animal; venison.
“Oh, I’ve never had deer before.”
An animal, especially a quadrupedal mammal, as opposed to a bird, fish, etc.