- a number of animals kept, feeding, or traveling together; drove; flock: a herd of cattle; a herd of sheep; a herd of zebras.
- Sometimes Disparaging. a large group of people: The star was mobbed by a herd of autograph seekers.
- any large quantity: a herd of bicycles.
- the herd, the common people; masses; rabble: He had no opinions of his own, but simply followed the herd.
- to unite or go in a herd; assemble or associate as a herd.
- ride herd on, to have charge or control of; maintain discipline over: He rode herd on 40 students in each class.
Origin of herd1
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- a large group of mammals living and feeding together, esp a group of cattle, sheep, etc
- often derogatory a large group of people
- derogatory the large mass of ordinary people
- to collect or be collected into or as if into a herd
- archaic, or dialecta man or boy who tends livestock; herdsman
- (in combination)goatherd; swineherd
- to drive forwards in a large group
- to look after (livestock)
Word Origin and History for ride herd on
mid-13c., "to watch over or herd (livestock);" of animals, "to gather in a herd, to form a flock," late 14c., from herd (n.). Related: Herded; herding.
Old English heord "herd, flock," from Proto-Germanic *herdo- (cf. Old Norse hjorð, Old High German herta, German Herde, Gothic hairda "herd"), from PIE *kerdh- "a row, group, herd" (cf. Sanskrit śárdhah "herd, troop," Old Church Slavonic čreda "herd," Greek korthys "heap," Lithuanian kerdžius "shepherd"). Herd instinct in psychology is first recorded 1908.
Idioms and Phrases with ride herd on
ride herd on
Keep close watch or tight control over, as in Aunt Martha is always riding herd on her bridge club, making sure they follow the rules. This idiom alludes to the cowboy who rides around a herd of cattle to keep them together. [Late 1800s]
see ride herd on.