Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A large deer (Rangifer tarandus) of the Arctic tundra and northern boreal forests, having large hooves and long branched antlers in both sexes, and widely domesticated in Eurasia. Subspecies native to North America and Greenland are usually called caribou.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A deer of the genus Rangifer or Tarandus, having horns in both sexes, and inhabiting arctic and cold temperate regions; the Cervus tarandus, Rangifer tarandus, or Tarandus rangifer.
  • noun In heraldry, a stag having two sets of antlers, the one pair bending downward, and the other standing erect.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Zool.) Any ruminant of the genus Rangifer, of the Deer family, found in the colder parts of both the Eastern and Western hemispheres, and having long irregularly branched antlers, with the brow tines palmate.
  • noun (Bot.) a gray branching lichen (Cladonia rangiferina) which forms extensive patches on the ground in arctic and even in north temperature regions. It is the principal food of the Lapland reindeer in winter.
  • noun (Geol.) a name sometimes given to a part of the Paleolithic era when the reindeer was common over Central Europe.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun zoology An Arctic and Subarctic-dwelling deer with a number of subspecies. The North American subspecies are known as caribou.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun Arctic deer with large antlers in both sexes; called `reindeer' in Eurasia and `caribou' in North America

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English reindere : Old Norse hreinn, reindeer; see ker- in Indo-European roots + Middle English der, animal; see deer.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Old Norse hreindýri ("reindeer"), from hreinn + dýr ("animal").

Examples

  • A pair of boxer shorts bedecked with cartoon reindeer is code for "We don't have sex anymore and this represents my tacit acceptance of that fact."

    Una LaMarche: Passive-Aggressive Holiday Gifts For Everyone On Your Naughty List

  • Towards the satisfaction of these demands, the reindeer is a demonstrated success in Alaska.

    The Canadian Arctic Region

  • I have bearded and bitten the frozen seas, and, aforetime of that, ere ever the ice-ages came to be, I have dripped my shoulders in reindeer gore, slain the mastodon and the sabre-tooth, scratched the record of my prowess on the walls of deep-buried caves -- ay, and suckled she-wolves side by side with my brother-cubs, the scars of whose fangs are now upon me.

    CHAPTER XXXIV

  • Better than reindeer is moose (or ‘elk’ as they call it in Europe).

    Matthew Yglesias » When the CW Is Right

  • I did a post for the Internet Food Association revealing several facts about reindeer including the fact that (a) reindeer is a real animal, (b) reindeer is delicious, and (c) reindeer is called “Caribou” in North America.

    Matthew Yglesias » When the CW Is Right

  • The scene moves to Santa's stables where the "A-team" of reindeer is having its annual pre-flight party, which involves copious amounts of eggnog and a game of Poker.

    Archive 2007-12-01

  • The scene moves to Santa's stables where the "A-team" of reindeer is having its annual pre-flight party, which involves copious amounts of eggnog and a game of Poker.

    Santa Claus Conquers the Martians: The Remake!

  • It turns out that the only difference between caribou and reindeer is that caribou are outside the fence and reindeer are inside.

    Albloggerque

  • “Yeah, but at least one other reindeer is denser.”

    Two Random Items Of A Dreamlike Nature

  • There could be a considerable expansion in reindeer herding.

    Factors Affecting Development of Canada's North

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