Deer

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Capreolinae/Odocoileinae
Cervinae
Hydropotinae
Muntiacinae

Deer (singular and plural) are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. Species in the Cervidae family include Moose, Red Deer, Reindeer, Roe and Chital. Male deer of all species, except the Chinese Water deer, and female Reindeer grow and shed new antlers each year. In this they differ from permanently horned animals such as antelope; these are in the same order as deer and may bear a superficial resemblance. The musk deer of Asia and Water Chevrotain (or Mouse Deer) of tropical African and Asian forests are not usually regarded as true deer and form their own families, Moschidae and Tragulidae, respectively.

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Terminology

The word "deer" was originally broad in meaning, but became more specific over time. In Middle English der (Old English dēor) meant a wild animal of any kind (as opposed to cattle, which then meant any domestic livestock, from the idea of ownership and related to chattel and capital).[1] This general sense gave way to the modern sense by the end of the Middle English period around 1500.[citation needed] Cognates of Old English dēor in other dead Germanic languages have the general sense of "animal", such as Old High German tior, Old Norse djur or dȳr, Gothic dius, Old Saxon dier, and Old Frisian diar. All modern Germanic languages save English and Scots retain this sense – for example, German Tier, Alemannic Diere or Tiere, Pennsylvania Dutch Gedier, Dutch dier, Afrikaans dier, Limburgish diere, Norwegian dyr, Swedish djur, Danish dyr, Icelandic dýr, Faroese dýr, West Frisian dier, and North Frisian diarten, all of which mean "animal". "Deer" is the same in the plural as in the singular, a convention which stretches back to Old English.

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