See more synonyms for shepherd on
  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.
verb (used with object)
  1. to tend or guard as a shepherd: to shepherd the flock.
  2. to watch over carefully.

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

Synonyms for shepherd

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for shepherding

Contemporary Examples of shepherding

Historical Examples of shepherding

  • Shepherding was not a peaceful pursuit in those bygone days.

    Tess of the Storm Country

    Grace Miller White

  • I suppose she's been shepherding those destroyers that we've just finished with.

  • Boy Blue must have brought it up to read to Bo-Peep in the intervals of shepherding.

  • They could only be some of Togo's cruisers "shepherding" the fleet.

    Famous Sea Fights

    John Richard Hale

  • This is the tale of the midnight shepherding of the 'heir of John' by Arcoll and his irregulars.

    Prester John

    John Buchan

British Dictionary definitions for shepherding


  1. astronomy a small moon of (e.g.) Saturn orbiting close to the rings and partly responsible for ring stability


  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
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

Word Origin for shepherd

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 shepherding



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.



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper