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See more synonyms for shepherd on Thesaurus.com
  1. a person who herds, tends, and guards sheep.
  2. a person who protects, guides, or watches over a person or group of people.
  3. a member of the clergy.
  4. the Shepherd, Jesus Christ.
  5. sheepdog.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to tend or guard as a shepherd: to shepherd the flock.
  2. to watch over carefully.
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Origin of shepherd

before 1050; Middle English shepherde, Old English scēphyrde. See sheep, herd2
Related formsshep·herd·less, adjectiveshep·herd·like, adjectiveun·der·shep·herd, nounun·shep·herd·ed, adjectiveun·shep·herd·ing, adjective


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

Related Words

force, attend, get, manage, drive, see, show, head, move, prompt, serve, contribute, draw, introduce, bring, assemble, mobilize, inspect, command, transmit

Examples from the Web for shepherded

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • And all the while Beasley, with consummate skill, shepherded them to his own ends.

    The Golden Woman

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • He shepherded me into my bedroom, shut the door on me, and tiptoed away.

  • Dahlia shepherded us to a quiet corner of the lounge and we all sat down.

    Once a Week

    Alan Alexander Milne

  • It was there that the flock was accustomed to graze, shepherded by the wise dog, Jock.

    The Black Buccaneer

    Stephen W. Meader

  • They were not shepherded and trained together, they came together.

British Dictionary definitions for shepherded


  1. astronomy a small moon of (e.g.) Saturn orbiting close to the rings and partly responsible for ring stability
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  1. a person employed to tend sheepFemale equivalent: shepherdess Related adjectives: bucolic, pastoral
  2. a person, such as a clergyman, who watches over or guides a group of people
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verb (tr)
  1. to guide or watch over in the manner of a shepherd
  2. Australian rules football to prevent opponents from tackling (a member of one's own team) by blocking their path
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Word Origin

from Old English sceaphirde. See sheep, herd ²
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 shepherded



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.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper