[ hurd ]
/ hɜrd /


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.

verb (used without object)

to unite or go in a herd; assemble or associate as a herd.

Nearby words

  1. hercules beetle,
  2. hercules'-club,
  3. hercules-club,
  4. hercynian,
  5. hercynite,
  6. herd immunity,
  7. herd instinct,
  8. herd tester,
  9. herd's-grass,
  10. herd-book


    ride herd on, to have charge or control of; maintain discipline over: He rode herd on 40 students in each class.

Origin of herd

before 1000; Middle English; Old English heord; cognate with Gothic hairda, German Herde

1. See flock1. 2. crowd, mob.

Can be confusedheard herd

Usage note


[ hurd ]
/ hɜrd /


a herdsman (usually used in combination): a cowherd; a goatherd; a shepherd.

verb (used with object)

to tend, drive, or lead (cattle, sheep, etc.).
to conduct or drive (a group of people) to a destination: The teacher herded the children into the classroom.

Origin of herd

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

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for herd

British Dictionary definitions for herd


/ (hɜːd) /


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

Word Origin for herd

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


  1. archaic, or dialect a man or boy who tends livestock; herdsman
  2. (in combination)goatherd; swineherd

verb (tr)

to drive forwards in a large group
to look after (livestock)

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
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with herd


see ride herd on.

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