Definition of Herdwick in English:



  • A sheep of a hardy mountain breed from the north of England.

    • ‘As part of a project born out of foot and mouth, they and others have established the Heritage Genebank, collecting sheep semen and embryos, initially from the threatened Herdwick breed, for a gene pool.’
    • ‘Breeds such as Herdwicks, Lonks, Rough Fells and Dalesbred exist in large numbers and are commercially farmed, but nevertheless are threatened to extinction when a disease such as foot-and-mouth hits their homelands.’
    • ‘Their first target in the race against time is the Herdwick breed of sheep which are nearly all in the Lake District.’
    • ‘For a start, hardy breeds like Herdwicks don't have as many lambs as their lowland counterparts.’
    • ‘The hardy Herdwick, for example, made it onto the menu at the coronation banquet for Queen Elizabeth II.’


Early 19th century: from (now obsolete) herdwick ‘pasture ground’ (see herd, wick), perhaps because this breed originated in the pasture grounds of Furness Abbey.