[ hawrd, hohrd ]
/ hɔrd, hoʊrd /
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See synonyms for: horde / hordes on Thesaurus.com

a large group, multitude, number, etc.; a mass or crowd: a horde of tourists.
a tribe or troop of Asian nomads.
any nomadic group.
a moving pack or swarm of animals: A horde of mosquitoes invaded the camp.
verb (used without object), hord·ed, hord·ing.
to gather in a horde: The prisoners horded together in the compound.
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Origin of horde

First recorded in 1545–55; earlier also hord, horda, ultimately from Czech, Polish horda, from Ukrainian dialect gordá, Ukrainian ordá, Old Russian (originally in the phrase Zolotaya orda “the Golden Horde”), via Mongolian or directly from Turkic ordu, orda “royal residence or camp” (later, “any military encampment, army”); cf. Urdu


hoard, horde
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What’s the difference between horde and hoard?

Horde is a noun referring to a large group or mob of people, especially one considered in a negative way, as in I’d rather avoid the hordes of tourists. Hoard is a verb meaning to accumulate things and closely guard them, often in a greedy or excessive way, as in Dragons are known for hoarding treasure. It can also be used as a noun to collectively refer to the things that have been accumulated, as in a hoard of treasure. 

The word horde is also used in a more specific way to refer to a group of nomads. It is especially associated with the Mongol army of the 1200s (sometimes known as the Golden Horde). Horde can also be a verb, meaning to gather or move in a horde, but this use is much less common.

Both words often relate to large groups, but a hoard is an accumulation of items, while a horde is a group of people (or animals).

To remember which spelling to use, remember that nomadic hordes sometimes travel on horses. The word hoard, on the other hand, hoards the letter A all for itself.

Here’s an example of horde and hoard used correctly in a sentence.

Example: A horde of invaders sacked the city and looted the royal treasure hoard. 

Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between hoard and horde.

Quiz yourself on horde vs. hoard!

Should horde or hoard be used in the following sentence?

At noon, a _____ of hungry children will descend upon the cafeteria.

How to use horde in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for horde

/ (hɔːd) /

a vast crowd; throng; mob
a local group of people in a nomadic society
a nomadic group of people, esp an Asiatic group
a large moving mass of animals, esp insects
(intr) to form, move in, or live in a horde

Word Origin for horde

C16: from Polish horda, from Turkish ordū camp; compare Urdu

usage for horde

Horde is sometimes wrongly written where hoard is meant: a hoard (not horde) of gold coins
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