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herd

1
[hurd]
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noun
  1. a number of animals kept, feeding, or traveling together; drove; flock: a herd of cattle; a herd of sheep; a herd of zebras.
  2. Sometimes Disparaging. a large group of people: The star was mobbed by a herd of autograph seekers.
  3. any large quantity: a herd of bicycles.
  4. the herd, the common people; masses; rabble: He had no opinions of his own, but simply followed the herd.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to unite or go in a herd; assemble or associate as a herd.
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Idioms
  1. ride herd on, to have charge or control of; maintain discipline over: He rode herd on 40 students in each class.
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Origin of herd

1
before 1000; Middle English; Old English heord; cognate with Gothic hairda, German Herde
Can be confusedheard herd

Synonyms for herd

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1. See flock1. 2. crowd, mob.

Usage note

herd

2
[hurd]
noun
  1. a herdsman (usually used in combination): a cowherd; a goatherd; a shepherd.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to tend, drive, or lead (cattle, sheep, etc.).
  2. to conduct or drive (a group of people) to a destination: The teacher herded the children into the classroom.
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Origin of herd

2
before 900; Middle English herd(e), hirde, Old English hierde; cognate with Gothic hairdeis, German Hirt(e); derivative of herd1

Synonyms for herd

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for herd

throng, brood, swarm, horde, mob, flock, corral, gathering, crowd, people, drove, populace, crush, lot, rabble, multitude, bevy, flight, nest, drift

Examples from the Web for herd

Contemporary Examples of herd

Historical Examples of herd

  • Only don't let the first woman that comes ridin' herd get her iron on you.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • I have in mind one old chap who used to herd the sheep on my uncle's farm.

    Ballads of a Bohemian

    Robert W. Service

  • She had just been taken into the herd that season and had the place of the favorite next to the leader.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

  • This farm to which he had devoted his life was taking it from him by a member of its herd.

    Dust

    Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius

  • Somewhere on these six hundred acres was the herd and it was his chore to find it and bring it in.

    Dust

    Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius


British Dictionary definitions for herd

herd

1
noun
  1. a large group of mammals living and feeding together, esp a group of cattle, sheep, etc
  2. often derogatory a large group of people
  3. derogatory the large mass of ordinary people
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verb
  1. to collect or be collected into or as if into a herd
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Word Origin for herd

Old English heord; related to Old Norse hjörth, Gothic hairda, Old High German herta, Greek kórthus troop

herd

2
noun
    1. archaic, or dialecta man or boy who tends livestock; herdsman
    2. (in combination)goatherd; swineherd
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verb (tr)
  1. to drive forwards in a large group
  2. to look after (livestock)
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Word Origin for herd

Old English hirde; related to Old Norse hirthir, Gothic hairdeis, Old High German hirti, Old Saxon hirdi, herdi; see herd 1
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

Word Origin and History for herd

n.

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.

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v.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with herd

herd

see ride herd on.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.