Origin of terrierMiddle English terrere ; from Middle French (chien) terrier, hunting (dog) ; from terrier, hillock, burrow ; from Medieval Latin terrarius, of earth ; from Classical Latin terra, terra
Origin of terrierMiddle English, from Old French (chien) terrier, ground (dog), terrier, from Medieval Latin terrārius, of the earth, from Latin terra; see ters- in Indo-European roots.
- A dog from a group of small, lively breeds, originally bred for the hunting of burrowing prey such as rabbits or foxes.
- (law, historical) A collection of acknowledgments of the vassals or tenants of a lordship, containing the rents and services they owed to the lord, etc.
- (law) A book or roll in which the lands of private persons or corporations are described by their site, boundaries, number of acres, etc.; a terrar.
From Old French (Middle French) chien terrier "terrier dog", or literally "earth dog," from chien 'dog' + terrier (itself ultimately from Latin terra 'earth').
Compare Latin terere (“to rub, to rub away"), terebra (“a borer").