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herd1

[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 herd1

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

Synonyms

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1. See flock1. 2. crowd, mob.

Usage note

herd2

[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 herd2

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

Synonyms

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2. guard, protect, watch.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for herding

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Note: The outcast princess is represented as “herding sheep.”

  • I suppose you know that she began life by herding the village goats.

    The Arrow of Gold

    Joseph Conrad

  • Then he entered the ship, herding the white-faced girl before him.

    A World is Born

    Leigh Douglass Brackett

  • Fats had swung back, and was now herding the crowd inside his place.

    Police Your Planet

    Lester del Rey

  • The M.A.'s are carrying in the provisions, the boys are stowing them and also herding the beasts.

    The Magic City

    Edith Nesbit


British Dictionary definitions for herding

herd1

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

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

herd2

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

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 herding

herd

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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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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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with herding

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.