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a reindeer (Rangifer tarandus)
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From Middle English reyndere, reynder, rayne-dere, from Old Norse hreindýri (reindeer), from hreinn (reindeer) + dýr (animal). Compare Dutch rendier (reindeer), German Rentier (reindeer), Swedish rendjur (reindeer), Danish rensdyr (reindeer). Related also to displaced Old English hrān (reindeer).



reindeer (plural reindeer or reindeers)

  1. (plural: reindeer) Any Arctic and subarctic-dwelling deer of the species Rangifer tarandus, with a number of subspecies.
    Santa Claus' sleigh is supposedly pulled by eight reindeer
    • 1768, D[aniel] Fenning, “LAPLAND”, in The Royal English Dictionary; or, A Treasury of the English Language, 3rd improved edition, London: Printed for R. Baldwin, Hawes and Co., T. Caslon, S. Crowder, J. Johnson, Wilson and Fell, Robinson and Roberts, and B. Collins, →OCLC:
      Here is a prodigious number of wild beaſts, as ſtags, bears, wolves, foxes of various colours, martens, hares, glittens, beavers, otters, elk, and rein deer: the latter is leſs than a stag.
    • 2013 March, Nancy Langston, “Mining the Boreal North”, in American Scientist[1], volume 101, number 2, archived from the original on 13 April 2016, page 98:
      Reindeer are well suited to the taiga’s frigid winters. They can maintain a thermogradient between body core and the environment of up to 100 degrees, in part because of insulation provided by their fur, and in part because of counter-current vascular heat exchange systems in their legs and nasal passages.
  2. (plural: reindeers, biology) Any species, subspecies, ecotype, or other scientific grouping of such animals.


Santa Claus's reindeer

Derived terms[edit]



reindeer (third-person singular simple present reindeers, present participle reindeering, simple past and past participle reindeered)

  1. To herd or farm reindeer

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