When to Use Dear and Deer

Commonly Confused Words

Deer are Often Confused with Dear Because They are Homophones.

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The words dear and deer are homophones: they sound alike but have different meanings.

As an adjective or adverb, dear means greatly loved or valued, high-priced, or earnest. (Dear is used with a name as a polite form of address.) As a noun, dear refers to a person who is loved or who's endearing. As an interjection, dear is used to express surprise, sympathy, or distress.

The noun deer refers to a hoofed, ruminant mammal. (Plural, deer.)


  • It was hard to say goodbye to such dear friends.
  • "My family paid a terrible price, perhaps too dear a price for my commitment."
    (Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, 2008)
  • "Her dear students were gaping like guppies, their eyes unblinking and their little mouths opening and closing silently." (Joan Hess, Dear Miss Demeanor, 2007)
  • "She took the fall bravely, whacking her thigh painfully on the dressing-table corner. 'Oh dear,' she gasped. 'Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.'" (Kate Morton, The Distant Hours, 2010)
  • The deer is a remarkably adaptable animal, one that can live almost anywhere.
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Your Citation
Nordquist, Richard. "When to Use Dear and Deer." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, thoughtco.com/dear-and-deer-1689360. Nordquist, Richard. (2020, August 26). When to Use Dear and Deer. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/dear-and-deer-1689360 Nordquist, Richard. "When to Use Dear and Deer." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/dear-and-deer-1689360 (accessed January 29, 2023).