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.

verb (used without object)

  1. to unite or go in a herd; assemble or associate as a herd.
  1. ride herd on, to have charge or control of; maintain discipline over: He rode herd on 40 students in each class.


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

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.


  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


  1. to collect or be collected into or as if into a herd


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

verb (tr)

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

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.


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.

see ride herd on.

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