Origin: ME reindere < ON hreindȳri < hreinn, reindeer (< IE *erei-, horned animal < base *er-, top of the head, horn > horn, L cerebrum) + dȳr, animal, deer
See reindeer in American Heritage Dictionary 4
noun pl. reindeer reindeer or rein·deers
Origin: Middle English reindere
Origin: : Old Norse hreinn, reindeer; see ker-1 in Indo-European roots
Origin: + Middle English der, animal; see deer. Word History: Although Saint Nick uses reins on his reindeer and reindeer are used to pull sleds in Lapland and northern Siberia, the word reindeer has nothing to do with reins. The element -deer is indeed our word deer, but the rein- part is borrowed from another language, specifically from the Scandinavian languages spoken by the chiefly Danish and Norwegian invaders and settlers of England from the 9th to the 11th century. Even though the Old Icelandic language in which much of Old Norse literature is written is not the same variety of Old Norse spoken by these settlers of England, it is close enough to give us an idea of the words that were borrowed into English. Thus we can cite the Old Icelandic word hreinn, which means “reindeer,” as the source of the first part of the English word. The word reindeer is first recorded in Middle English in a work composed before 1400.
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