One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A small dog of a breed originally used for turning out foxes and other burrowing animals from their earths.
- ‘In 1824 dogs used by farmers for shepherding were greyhounds, hounds, pointers, spaniels, lurchers and terriers all of which were exempted from the dog tax if the value of the farm was less than £190 per year.’
- ‘Those days in Ireland there were few breeds to choose from and the greyhound, Irish red setter, terrier and sheep dog were about as far as it went.’
- ‘The Airedale terrier found in the cathedral grounds of Dunkeld greets visitors with a wet muzzle.’
- ‘If you own a terrier - any breed or size - you can take it to Kelso to compete for what I am assured will be generous cash prizes.’
- ‘In addition, Airedales can be aggressive toward other dogs and small animals, a trait not unheard of in terriers.’
- ‘The dogs ranged in ages and breeds and included everything from new-born pups to malnourished, mange-ridden and ulcerated German shepherds to terriers to poms.’
- ‘Sunday's show has a series of classes for both foxhounds and terriers, although the competition is only open to animals belonging to the hunt.’
- ‘We had all sorts of dogs from terriers to spaniels and even a French basset hound.’
- ‘Remember that this breed was originally used as a working terrier and was bred to hunt badgers, rabbits and foxes.’
- ‘We have two dogs: one is a terrier, a breed noted for their rat-hating, but in the absence of rats they take on mice - or possums.’
- ‘Reggie's ancestors - the first terriers - were bred for seek-and-destroy missions in the fox dens and badger holes surrounding the farms of their native Scotland.’
- ‘Both the Clydesdale and the Paisley terrier eventually became extinct, but not before they had contributed to the development of the Yorkie.’
- ‘Maria longed for a larger, less isolated life that included people and domesticated animals, fat curly terriers or blue-eyed huskies.’
- ‘Honey is a young golden mixed breed terrier, who likes cats, and is full of fun and playful.’
- ‘The date is also traditionally the first day of hunting meets and foxhounds, lurchers, greyhounds, beagles, minkhounds, terriers and other hunting dogs will all be taken along to Higham.’
- ‘In addition, there was a show of the Ullswater foxhounds and an open foxhound show; a show of various breeds of terriers along with gun dogs and children's pets.’
- ‘A native of Tullamore, she has been showing Airedale terriers for the last six years.’
- ‘What is also interesting with the dogs is that farm dogs like collies came out well ahead in the cleverness stakes than other working dogs like retrievers and terriers, with the toy breeds trailing behind.’
- ‘Ronnie enjoys the country life and while his girlfriend of 15 years, Fiona, spends all her time with the horses, he is content with his two terriers and other animals.’
- ‘Nearly every show in Cumbria has classes for foxhounds and terriers which shows the importance that hunting holds in the agricultural and village communities.’
- 1.1 Used in similes to emphasize tenacity or eagerness.‘she would fight like a terrier for every penny’
- ‘Roche has worked like a terrier on the campaign, cancelling his summer holidays and launching a series of blistering broadsides on the No side.’
- ‘The score line was no indication how the game went about as the Police forwards played like terriers in the loose to match their reputed opponents.’
- ‘She was like a terrier worrying an elk hound, charging in and pressing an attack so fast and furious he had no choice but to defend himself.’
- ‘Hams-Tech, who played like terriers, scored through penalties kicked by fly half Warren Gower and scrum half Andre Bosman.’
- ‘He was like a terrier, bounding along, whereas I was more like a snail - there was just so much to see at this site.’
2British informal A member of the Territorial Army.
- ‘Both the National Guard and Territorial Army - the Terriers - are reserve forces made up of paid volunteer civilians.’
Late Middle English: from Old French (chien) terrier ‘earth (dog)’, from medieval Latin terrarius, from Latin terra ‘earth’.
1A register of the lands belonging to a landowner, originally including a list of tenants, their holdings, and the rents paid, later consisting of a description of the acreage and boundaries of the property.
- ‘Above all they made for muniment rooms, where terriers and other records of feudal obligations were held.’
- ‘The earliest reliable sources are the terriers (a register of land and property) with the tithe maps c. 1840 that indicate where all the licensed properties were located with a tithe reference number, the name, the owner or brewery, and the occupant.’
- 1.1 An inventory of property or goods.
- ‘It was noted in a letter book of 1907 that the late Canon C. W. Foster was already being asked to produce glebe terriers for the diocesan registrar.’
- ‘The Care of Churches and Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1991 requires church wardens to compile and maintain a full terrier and inventory of all land and articles appertaining to their church.’
Late 15th century: from Old French terrier, from medieval Latin terrarius (liber) ‘(book) of land’, from Latin terra ‘earth’.
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