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. Mice and rats, and such small deer. --Shak. The camel, that great deer. --Lindisfarne MS. 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. Note: The deer hunted in England is Cervus elaphus, called also stag or red deer; the fallow deer is C. dama; the common American deer is C. Virginianus; the blacktailed deer of Western North America is C. Columbianus; and the mule deer of the same region is C. macrotis. See Axis, Fallow deer, Mule deer, Reindeer. Note: Deer is much used adjectively, or as the first part of a compound; as, deerkiller, deerslayer, deerslaying, deer hunting, deer stealing, deerlike, etc. Deer mouse (Zo["o]l.), the white-footed mouse (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.