Meaning of DEER in English


(family Cervidae), any of the ruminant mammals (order Artiodactyla) having two large and two small hooves on each foot and having antlers in the males of most species and in the females of some species. Indeed, the feature most commonly associated with deer is the presence of antlers. Deer occur mainly in forests but may be found in habitats as diverse as deserts, tundra, swamps, and high mountainsides. They are native to Europe, Asia, North America, South America, and northern Africa, and they have been introduced into such areas as the Hawaiian Islands, Australia, and New Zealand. There are about 16 genera and about 30 species. Although they are variously classified by different authorities, they are often divided into four subfamilies: Moschinae (musk deer), Muntiacinae (muntjacs), Odocoileinae (hollow-toothed deer), and Cervinae (true deer). The popular English terminology associated with the sexes of various deer is an outgrowth of their importance as game: female deer are usually called does, but the female of the European red deer is a hind, and of the moose or elk a cow; males generally are called bucks, but the male of the red deer is a stag, or, especially when mature, a hart, and of the moose or elk a bull. Several names are used for the fawns of various agese.g., yearling, knobber, brocket, staggard (especially applied to male red deer). Fawns of moose or elk are called calves. Deer range in shoulder height from about 30 cm (12 inches) in the pudu (genus Pudu) to 2 m (6.5 feet) or more in the moose (species Alces alces). Deer characteristically have lithe but compact bodies and short tails. The ears are large but usually slender. The legs are usually long and slender and are provided with paired hooves. Generally the fur is slightly harsh but has a smooth appearance. Some deer possess a shaggier coat, especially in the cold seasons. The colour is usually brownish to tawny, often with white on the chest and throat. In most kinds the coat of the young, or fawn, is spotted; and in some, especially the smaller species, the spotting may be retained by the adult. Antlers, their most outstanding feature, are borne by adult males in all but two speciesthe musk deer (Moschus moschiferus) and the Chinese water deer (Hydropotes inermis)and are borne by both male and female reindeer, or caribou (Rangifer tarandus). The antlers, which are solid bony outgrowths that arise from the frontal bones, are shed and produced anew each year. The antlers originate as simple knobs covered with a soft skin, the so-called velvet of the antlers. The growth of antlers is rapid, and, as growth continues, a heavy deposit of bone at the base of the antler constricts the circulation, finally stopping it entirely and drying the skin covering. The skin is subsequently rubbed off, and the hardened antler is fully developed as the rutting (breeding) season begins. The general form of the antler is characteristic of the various species; some species have a main beam with one or more subsidiary tines, whereas others show a dichotomous or even more complex branching. Maximum size and complexity of antlers is usually attained when the animal is in its prime; they tend to degenerate in older animals. Shedding of the antlers is caused by a resorption of bony material at their bases. This process of resorption, which irritates the animal, induces it to respond by rubbing the antlers against trees or other hard objects. When the base has been sufficiently weakened, the antler is shed. The musk and Chinese water deer, as well as the muntjacs (Muntiacus) and tufted deer (Elaphodus cephalophus) have long, tusklike upper canine teeth. As herbivorous animals, deer feed on grass, twigs, bark, and shoots. They are usually gregarious, and some make long annual migrations. They are most active in early morning and late afternoon, resting at midday and at night. Most live in small bands comprising a family group, though the males are prone to be solitary seasonally. In warm climates breeding takes place at any time of the year; in colder climates, in autumn or winter. Gestation ranges from about 5 months in the musk deer to about 10 months in the roe deer (Capreolus capreolus). One or two young (as many as seven in the water deer) are born. Most deer are polygamous, the bucks collecting harems and battling other males for possession of the does. Especially in the rutting season, deer are likely to be unpredictable. The North American moose is known for its irascible disposition. Deer attack with either antlers or hooves, impaling with the former and slashing with the latter . Occasionally the antlers of two fighting bucks become so firmly engaged that the struggle ends in both combatants dying of starvation. Deer are hunted for their meat and hides and for their antlers, which are kept as trophies and, in China, have long been used for medicinal purposes. Reindeer are kept as domestic animals in some areas. The flesh, or venison, of most deer is esteemed as food. The hides, when properly tanned, produce a soft leather. The domesticated deer, notably the Laplander's reindeer, produce a beeflike meat, leather, and milk and serve also as draft and riding animals.

Britannica English vocabulary.      Английский словарь Британика.