Antler – Definition & Meaning

Antlers are a defining feature of deer, moose, elk, and other members of the deer family. These bony structures grow from the heads of male deer and are used for a variety of purposes, including attracting mates and defending against predators.


An antler is a branched, bony growth that protrudes from the head of a male deer or related animal. It is composed of bone tissue and is shed and regrown annually.


The word antler comes from the Old English word “an(t)eler,” which means “bony projection from the skull of a deer.” The word is derived from the Proto-Germanic word “anaz,” which means “horn,” and the suffix “-ter,” which indicates an agent or instrument.

Meaning in different dictionaries

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, an antler is “one of the paired deciduous solid bony processes that arise from the frontal bone on the head of an animal of the deer family.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “a branched bony growth on the head of a deer, elk, or moose.”


Antlers are often associated with strength, power, and virility. They are also a symbol of the natural world and are frequently used in hunting and outdoor sports.


Synonyms for antler include horn, tine, branch, and prong.


Antonyms for antler include smooth, rounded, and featureless.

The same root words

Words with the same root as antler include anther, anthill, and anthracite.

Example Sentences

  • The hunter admired the massive antlers of the buck he had just shot.
  • The moose lowered its antlers and charged at the predator.
  • The deer shed its antlers in the winter and regrew them in the spring.
  • The elk’s antlers were so large that they almost touched the ground.
  • The antlers of the reindeer were covered in velvet, indicating that they were still growing.
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