c. 1400, also raindere, reynder, rayne-dere, genus of deer inhabiting the arctic regions of Europe, from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse hreindyri "reindeer," with dyr "animal" (see deer) + hreinn, the usual name for the animal in Old Norse, from Proto-Germanic *khrinda- (source also of Old English hran "reindeer;" German Renn "reindeer," which was altered by folk etymology influence of rennen "to run;" and Swedish renko "female reindeer," with ko "cow" (n.)).
Watkins has this from PIE *krei-, from root *ker- (1) "horn; head," with derivatives referring to horned animals (both male and female reindeer have horns; those of the male are remarkable), and thus perhaps cognate with Greek krios "ram" (see kerato-). Older sources connect it to words in Lapp or Finnish (raingo). French renne, Spanish reno, Italian renna ultimately are from Germanic.
Larwood & Hotten ("History of Signboards") write that the 1670s London tavern sign of the ranged deer "was simply intended for the Reindeer, which animal had then just newly come under the notice of the public; their knowledge of it was still confused, and its name was spelled in various ways, such as: rain-deer, rained-deer, range-deer, and ranged-deer."
Old English deor "wild animal, beast, any wild quadruped," in early Middle English also used of ants and fish, from Proto-Germanic *deuzam, the general Germanic word for "animal" (as opposed to man), but often restricted to "wild animal" (source also of Old Frisian diar, Dutch dier, Old Norse dyr, Old High German tior, German Tier "animal," Gothic dius "wild animal," also see reindeer).
This is perhaps from PIE *dheusom "creature that breathes," from root *dheu- (1) "cloud, breath" (source also of Lithuanian dusti "gasp," dvėsti "gasp, perish;" Old Church Slavonic dychati "breathe"). For possible prehistoric sense development, compare Latin animal from anima "breath").
The sense specialization to a specific animal began in Old English (the usual Old English word for what we now call a deer was heorot; see hart), was common by 15c., and is now complete. It happened probably via hunting, deer being the favorite animal of the chase (compare Sanskrit mrga- "wild animal," used especially for "deer").
Deer-lick "salty spot where deer come to lick," is attested by 1778, in an American context. The deer-mouse (1840) is so called for its agility.
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "horn; head," with derivatives referring to horned animals, horn-shaped objects, and projecting parts.
It forms all or part of: alpenhorn; Capricorn; carat; carotid; carrot; carotene; cerato-; cerebellum; cerebral; cerebrum; cervical; cervix; charivari; cheer; chelicerae; corn (n.2) "hardening of the skin;" cornea; corner; cornet; cornucopia; cranium; flugelhorn; hart; hartebeest; horn; hornbeam; hornblende; hornet; keratin; kerato-; migraine; monoceros; reindeer; rhinoceros; saveloy; serval; triceratops; unicorn.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit srngam "horn;" Persian sar "head," Avestan sarah- "head;" Greek karnon "horn," koryne "club, mace," koryphe "head;" Latin cornu "horn," cervus "deer;" Old English horn "horn of an animal;" Welsh carw "deer."
"pretense or evasive story to avoid doing something," 1812, from earlier sense "thief's assistant" (1590s, also staller), from a variant of stale "bird used as a decoy to lure other birds" (mid-15c.), from Anglo-French estale "decoy, pigeon used to lure a hawk" (13c., compare stool pigeon), literally "standstill," from Old French estal "place, stand, stall," from Frankish *stal- "position," ultimately from Germanic and cognate with Old English steall (see stall (n.1)). Compare Old English stælhran "decoy reindeer," German stellvogel "decoy bird." Figurative sense of "deception, means of allurement" is first recorded 1520s. Also see stall (v.2).
The stallers up are gratified with such part of the gains acquired as the liberality of the knuckling gentlemen may prompt them to bestow. [J.H. Vaux, "Flash Dictionary," 1812]