1. Zool. A hybrid animal; specifically, one generated between an ass and a mare. Sometimes the term is applied to the offspring of a horse and a she-ass, but that hybrid is more properly termed a hinny. See Hinny.
Note: ☞ Mules are much used as draught animals. They are hardy, and proverbial for stubbornness.
2. Bot. A plant or vegetable produced by impregnating the pistil of one species with the pollen or fecundating dust of another; -- called also hybrid.
3. A very stubborn person.
4. A machine, used in factories, for spinning cotton, wool, etc., into yarn or thread and winding it into cops; -- called also jenny and mule-jenny.
Mule armadillo Zool., a long-eared armadillo Tatusia hybrida, native of Buenos Ayres; -- called also mulita. See Illust. under Armadillo.
Mule deer Zool., a large deer (Cervus macrotis syn. Cariacus macrotis) of the Western United States. The name refers to its long ears.
Mule pulley Mach., an idle pulley for guiding a belt which transmits motion between shafts that are not parallel.
Mule twist, cotton yarn in cops, as spun on a mule; -- in distinction from yarn spun on a throstle frame.
Deer n. sing. & pl.
1. Any animal; especially, a wild animal. [Obs.]
Mice and rats, and such small deer. --Shak.
The camel, that great deer. --Lindisfarne MS.
2. Zool. A ruminant of the genus Cervus, of many species, and of related genera of the family Cervidæ. The males, and in some species the females, have solid antlers, often much branched, which are shed annually. Their flesh, for which they are hunted, is called venison.
Note: ☞ The deer hunted in England is Cervus elaphus, called also stag or red deer; the fallow deer is Cervus dama; the common American deer is Cervus Virginianus; the blacktailed deer of Western North America is Cervus Columbianus; and the mule deer of the same region is Cervus macrotis. See Axis, Fallow deer, Mule deer, Reindeer.
Note: ☞ Deer is much used adjectively, or as the first part of a compound; as, deerkiller, deerslayer, deerslaying, deer hunting, deer stealing, deerlike, etc.
Deer mouse Zool., the white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus, formerly Hesperomys leucopus) of America.
Small deer, petty game, not worth pursuing; -- used metaphorically. (See citation from Shakespeare under the first definition, above.) “Minor critics . . . can find leisure for the chase of such small deer.”