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[shep-erd] /ˈʃɛp ərd/
a person who herds, tends, and guards sheep.
a person who protects, guides, or watches over a person or group of people.
a member of the clergy.
the Shepherd, Jesus Christ.
verb (used with object)
to tend or guard as a shepherd:
to shepherd the flock.
to watch over carefully.
Origin of shepherd
before 1050; Middle English shepherde, Old English scēphyrde. See sheep, herd2
Related forms
shepherdless, adjective
shepherdlike, adjective
undershepherd, noun
unshepherded, adjective
unshepherding, adjective
2. protector, guardian, defender, keeper.


[shep-erd] /ˈʃɛp ərd/
a male given name. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for shepherd
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The land didnt belong to the shepherd any more than to himself, or Gin.

    Beginners Luck Emily Hahn
  • But every night this shepherd used to pen them up in a fold.

  • To-day the orator has become a sublime reasoner, the shepherd of ideas.

    Modeste Mignon Honore de Balzac
  • Every one said it except the shepherd with the staring eyes, and he would not say it.

  • The shepherd who passed him looked gray and spectral in the lurid light.

    Debit and Credit Gustav Freytag
British Dictionary definitions for shepherd


a person employed to tend sheep Female equivalent shepherdess, related adjectives bucolic pastoral
a person, such as a clergyman, who watches over or guides a group of people
verb (transitive)
to guide or watch over in the manner of a shepherd
(Australian rules football) to prevent opponents from tackling (a member of one's own team) by blocking their path
Word Origin
from Old English sceaphirde. See sheep, herd²


(astronomy) a small moon of (e.g.) Saturn orbiting close to the rings and partly responsible for ring stability
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for shepherd

Old English sceaphierde, from sceap "sheep" (see sheep) + hierde "herder," from heord "a herd" (see herd (n.)). Cf. Middle Low German, Middle Dutch schaphirde, Middle High German schafhirte, German dialectal Schafhirt. Shepherds customarily were buried with a tuft of wool in hand, to prove on Doomsday their occupation and be excused for often missing Sunday church. Shepherd's pie is recorded from 1877.


1790, "to herd sheep," from shepherd (n.). The metaphoric sense of "watch over or guide" is first recorded 1820. Related: Shepherded; shepherding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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shepherd in the Bible

a word naturally of frequent occurence in Scripture. Sometimes the word "pastor" is used instead (Jer. 2:8; 3:15; 10:21; 12:10; 17:16). This word is used figuratively to represent the relation of rulers to their subjects and of God to his people (Ps. 23:1; 80:1; Isa. 40:11; 44:28; Jer. 25:34, 35; Nahum 3:18; John 10:11, 14; Heb. 13:20; 1 Pet. 2:25; 5:4). The duties of a shepherd in an unenclosed country like Palestine were very onerous. "In early morning he led forth the flock from the fold, marching at its head to the spot where they were to be pastured. Here he watched them all day, taking care that none of the sheep strayed, and if any for a time eluded his watch and wandered away from the rest, seeking diligently till he found and brought it back. In those lands sheep require to be supplied regularly with water, and the shepherd for this purpose has to guide them either to some running stream or to wells dug in the wilderness and furnished with troughs. At night he brought the flock home to the fold, counting them as they passed under the rod at the door to assure himself that none were missing. Nor did his labours always end with sunset. Often he had to guard the fold through the dark hours from the attack of wild beasts, or the wily attempts of the prowling thief (see 1 Sam. 17:34).", Deane's David.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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