Deer can be traced back to the Old English word deor, but the word’s use in Old English was somewhat different than deer’s is today. To the Anglo-Saxons, a deor was not necessarily the gentle, forest creature signified by the modern deer, but the word could be used for any undomesticated, four-legged animal, including fabulous beasts of legend. The word carried a connotation of wildness and ferocity, not something we today associate with Bambi. Deer is a cognate (sister word) of the modern German Tier, “animal.”

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