Definition of shepherd in English:



  • 1A person who tends and rears sheep.

    • ‘In numerous prints donkeys and sheep enslave millers and shepherds; farmers pull ploughs or carry sacks and baskets.’
    • ‘The shepherd traveled at the rear of his flock, depending on his dog to range ahead, prevent wrong turns, retrieve ewes inclined to straying.’
    • ‘The Navajo, for example, after obtaining livestock from the Spanish in the 1500s, became consummate shepherds and goat herders.’
    • ‘Oak's ability and initiative had taken him from humble origins to become a respected shepherd with sheep of his own.’
    • ‘This noble intervention only brought a volley of rocks from the angry shepherds whose sheep had been scattered.’
    • ‘There was a small area for common pasturage where a shepherd would look after the town's sheep and cattle.’
    • ‘Its guidelines are the cause of the current turmoil among Canada's cattle farmers, shepherds and some parts of our dairy sector.’
    • ‘In 19 months there were 11 bombings of flocks of sheep with child shepherds on the plains in the middle of nowhere.’
    • ‘She altered the composition by shifting the house to the right and filling in the left with a bucolic scene of a shepherd and shepherdess with a small flock of sheep.’
    • ‘Vedic hymns were not composed by cowherd boys and shepherds while they were grazing their flocks of cattle, cows and sheep in the grass fields.’
    • ‘Lydgate's bright disposition suggests a man ready for action in contrast with some of the more sleepy rural imagery of the shepherd driving the sheep with his dog and the slow traffic of carts in town.’
    • ‘Miraculously, they floated ashore, were nursed by a she-wolf, and then reared by a shepherd.’
    • ‘He still had the arrogant smirk, the various admirers that flocked around him like sheep to their shepherd…’
    • ‘He is the one who claims that one day he is going to judge the world, and he is going to separate all mankind as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats.’
    • ‘Since 1994 the Livestock Guarding Dog Program has trained more than 200 Anatolian shepherds to protect farmed sheep and goats in Namibia.’
    • ‘Abel was a shepherd and brought a sheep, the best of his flock.’
    • ‘She let herself be led to the aft cabin like a sheep by a shepherd.’
    • ‘With very few white settlers in the far north, it was not uncommon for Aborigines to attack the sheep, shepherds or even station huts.’
    • ‘Sancho then realizes that it is two groups of shepherds with sheep; he stays back from this adventure, while trying to yell some sense into Don Quijote's ears from a safe distance.’
    • ‘Whereas earlier Jesus' compassion arises because the crowds are like sheep without a shepherd, now it arises because they have kept vigil with him for three days with nothing to eat.’
    herdsman, herdswoman, shepherd boy, shepherdess
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A member of the clergy who provides spiritual care and guidance for a congregation.
      • ‘The question before the Southern Baptist Convention was, should they be the pastor, the shepherd, the leader of the church?’
      • ‘He saw them as they were, as sheep without a shepherd.’
      • ‘Clergy have a responsibility, as the shepherd of their flocks, to reach out to their followers.’
      • ‘Perhaps I can point out that a shepherd needs to take care of his flock.’
      • ‘We rightly think of the work of a shepherd as leading, caring, feeding, protecting.’
      • ‘Spiritual shepherds are giving way to media specialists, programming consultants, stage directors, special effects experts, and choreographers.’
      • ‘In contrast, Ezekiel announces a new rule in which the shepherd will genuinely care for the sheep.’
      • ‘This poem is really about the role of the Pope who is shepherd of his flock.’
      • ‘The cleric is not a shepherd - he is a sheep that requires guidance.’
      • ‘We need to pray for the bishops of our country, that they may remember what their office means, and be pastors, be shepherds to us.’
      • ‘He is the shepherd, the pastor, the teacher, of the community entrusted to his care.’
      • ‘Maybe one could hope (in one's wildest dreams) that these bishops will learn to be true shepherds and surely that's what should happen.’
      • ‘We expect them to be our spiritual shepherds even as we hold them responsible for the programs and ministries in the parish.’
      • ‘It may be that by transmitting even passive radio signals we are like a lost kid bleating its presence to a good shepherd, or to a tiger.’
      • ‘Through Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, God offers eternal life to all!’
      • ‘Rutherford had vast learning, and yet he knew the need for shepherds to care for the Christ's sheep.’
      • ‘Since the beginning of my papacy, my thoughts, my prayers and my actions have been driven by one push only - to bear witness to the fact that Christ, the good shepherd, is present and works in his Church.’
      • ‘They want the safety net of a belief system that is comfortable and familiar, but want to be more than sheep following the good shepherd.’
      • ‘When the same plea is voiced by Christian bishops, the ostensible shepherds of the Church, the situation begins to feel nauseatingly apocalyptic.’


[with object]
  • 1usually as noun shepherdingTend (sheep) as a shepherd.

    • ‘The episode will feature bullied pupils from a Bradford school who are given lessons to build their confidence by learning to shepherd sheep into a pen at the farm by shouting commands to Hope.’
    • ‘I watched as Kit sped into the pen and began shepherding the sheep.’
    • ‘Aborigines were employed almost immediately with the women shepherding the flocks, working the wool scour, carrying light materials to the construction camps and even running the mail between the different stations.’
    • ‘As he grew up, he lived in the hills surrounding his home tending and shepherding the mountainy sheep.’
    • ‘She is from Mallerstang and has spent ten years shepherding and lambing.’
    • ‘He said he hoped the SWES scheme might lead to the employment of a roving ‘moorsman’ who would help farmers with shepherding and oversee land management.’
    • ‘The solitariness of the job gives shepherding an aura denied everyday employment, and sheep a distinction and poetry not offered other animals.’
    • ‘Like all men who shepherded sheep on the mountain he kept and bred excellent sheep dogs and was able to train them to collect sheep and control their movement.’
    • ‘Accompaniers there help with olive harvests and shepherding and are often invited to villagers' homes for tea.’
    • ‘Instead of rounding up villains, John spends his days shepherding black Hebridean sheep and Highland cattle.’
    1. 1.1 Give guidance to (someone), especially on spiritual matters.
      ‘she had to submit the control of her career and money to a group who shepherded her’
      • ‘Elders are given to the Church by Jesus Christ to carry on His work of shepherding His people.’
      • ‘As de facto host of the evening, Robertson shepherds the musicians through their paces, pouncing quickly on technical troubles, shooting a worried glance off stage.’
      • ‘If the child is a relative stranger to you, how wise is it to take on the responsibility of shepherding him to adulthood?’
      • ‘He realized that he could continue to shepherd his people by adopting St. Paul's strategy of writing pastoral letters from prison.’
      • ‘Most of us shepherd generous people; what we must do is impart biblical teaching that consistently connects stewardship with discipleship.’
  • 2 Guide or direct in a particular direction.

    ‘I shepherded them through the door’
    • ‘When a bomb destroys her compartment on a crowded train, she shepherds her fellow survivors back to her house, including an American girl orphaned and struck dumb in the blast.’
    • ‘Through an intricate series of hand gestures and melodic whistles, she quickly garnered its trust and shepherded it into our gated, side yard.’
    • ‘It was her duty to shepherd them all safely, and in the right direction.’
    • ‘Equipped with special navigational aids, including radar, the control boats also guided the assault waves in and then shepherded the subsequent traffic to and from the beach, always a major problem in any amphibious operation.’
    • ‘At first the horse was frightened by the engine and was swimming round in circles, but they picked up my son and the sound of his voice calmed the horse as they shepherded it back to the beach.’
    • ‘Oh sure, kids are still playing hockey, after a fashion; where I come from, they're mostly shepherded from game to game, coached half to death and heckled the other half.’
    • ‘Spectators are shepherded through an entrance/exit barely wide enough for two people at a time, then forced to walk through a tented area where various products are on sale.’
    • ‘Directors shepherding millionaire delinquents to and from disciplinary hearings are eager enough to express their sincere concern for refereeing standards.’
    • ‘As soon as the incident happened, school staff responded very quickly to ensure that all the children on site were shepherded safely into the building, which was then made secure.’
    • ‘Though bowled on 87 by a no-ball from Vaughan, Jacobs hit several sixes in his hundred as he shepherded Lara to his destiny, a journey that saw the pair add an unbroken 282 for the sixth wicket, a West Indies record.’
    • ‘She changed her employment from the Phone Guide to waitressing in order to shepherd Tyler to school and daycare.’
    • ‘Crowd management then shepherds the groups, which seem to leave at 15 minute intervals, to the door of the house where one of a fleet of guides greets them and commences the tour.’
    • ‘He has a major grumble about the way in which dive guides insist on shepherding divers around.’
    • ‘We were all branded working class yobs and louts, despite our diverse backgrounds, and were shepherded in and out of grounds across the country by police on horseback as if we were criminals.’
    • ‘Historic Scotland's have confirmed that visitors will buy a ticket for Maeshowe and will then be taken in groups from the mill to the cairn, with the guides shepherding them across the road.’
    • ‘He was one of 160 blacks chosen to serve on the Mason, a destroyer escort assigned to shepherd convoys of Army barges and tugs from the United States to England.’
    • ‘Londoners and tourists lining the banks and bridges were treated to the sight of a whale being shepherded along the Thames with an escort of two rescue boats close by either side.’
    • ‘Part of the director's job is to shepherd his film through the post-production process and to keep the studio confident in his vision.’
    • ‘As we stopped to pick up tickets at the entrance and were then shepherded through the gates by enthusiastic greeters it did feel like we were entering another world.’
    • ‘We would all be shepherded into the large sitting room where the lights were turned off and the only illumination came from the crackling fire.’
    guide, conduct, usher, convoy, marshal, steer, herd, lead, take, escort, accompany, walk
    View synonyms


Old English scēaphierde, from sheep + obsolete herd ‘herdsman’.