Definition of antler in US English:



  • 1Each of the branched horns on the head of an adult deer (typically a male one), which are made of bone and are grown and cast annually.

    • ‘In most cervids, only males have antlers (but both sexes bear them in caribou).’
    • ‘Meanwhile, Lister cast doubt on another possible explanation for the deer's demise - the male's huge antlers.’
    • ‘Remedies to right the imbalance include snake gallbladder, powdered deer antlers, and rhinoceros horn, as well as hundreds of different combinations of herbs.’
    • ‘Female reindeer rule over males during the short season when males have shed their antlers prior to growing new ones and the females have not yet shed theirs.’
    • ‘Reindeer, both wild and semi-domesticated, are the only members of the deer family in which both sexes grow antlers.’
    • ‘Except for female caribou, only male deer grow antlers, which they shed each year.’
    • ‘The principal season for deer harvest was August to January, based on patterns of mandibular tooth eruption and antlers attached to male crania.’
    • ‘Teeth from a woolly rhino were also found, with a reindeer antler and a deer bone that had been split to extract the marrow.’
    • ‘None of the women, but three of the five men in the drawing have horns on their head; the elaborate branched antlers of the stag, curling horns of rams, and the pronged horns of the antelope.’
    • ‘Naked bone, such as antlers become after velvet is shed, cannot function in heat transmission because their blood supply is lost.’
    • ‘A Venetian-style chandelier cast from deer antlers was suspended above.’
    • ‘The mammalian liver can regenerate if a part of it is removed, the antlers of male deer regenerate each year, and fractured bones can mend by a regenerative process.’
    • ‘The antler measurement provides a very precise time for the death of this animal, since caribou form and cast their antlers annually, and females keep theirs throughout the winter.’
    • ‘The ditch around Stonehenge would have been dug using animal bones and deer antlers to loosen the underlying chalk.’
    • ‘Female reindeer are the only deer species to grow antlers as well as the male, but they only sprout in winter.’
    • ‘One possibility is sexual selection: a brightly colored male fish or a male deer sporting large antlers may have a better chance of attracting or fighting for mates than males that lack such traits.’
    • ‘If you remember your zoology classes well, a ‘stag’ is also a male deer, with antlers.’
    • ‘After the fuzzy velvet is stripped off (sometimes in sparring matches which precede the rut), the antlers of both males and females become a pure, shining white.’
    • ‘Bulls and cows in the Tsaatan herd grow velvety racks of antlers.’
    • ‘The antlers of the giant deer, or Irish elk, grew as large as 10 feet across.’
    1. 1.1 Each of the branches on a set of antlers.
      • ‘The two branch fork antlers are yellowish-red in the surface and have sparse, rough hair.’
      • ‘If you are lucky enough to live on the outskirts of a forest, there is a great chance that you will spy an antler or two, usually at dusk.’
      • ‘Here's a closeup of Mike now that his velvet has vanished, showing the injury on his right brow antler.’
      • ‘The branch next to the head is called the brow antler.’
      • ‘They grow from pedicles that form at puberty and which, in time, become permanent protuberances from where antlers bud and are cast seasonally.’


Late Middle English (originally denoting the lowest (forward-directed) branch of the antler): from Anglo-Norman French, variant of Old French antoillier, of unknown origin.