Definition of herd in English:



  • 1A large group of animals, especially hoofed mammals, that live, feed, or migrate together or are kept together as livestock.

    ‘a herd of elephants’
    ‘large farms with big dairy herds’
    • ‘Ironically, livestock herds had grown by as much as 50 percent in the years prior to the infestation.’
    • ‘The very dry 12 months from October 1995 to October 1996 were then followed by very wet years, where camels would gather in herds of up to 200.’
    • ‘If the disease were to spread into the pig herds of East Yorkshire, Humberside, East Anglia and Scotland - areas that are so far disease-free - it could cause real problems.’
    • ‘But casual sightings in recent years indicate that a herd of seven horses was living in the park last year.’
    • ‘Historic parkland in North Yorkshire is now home to some gentle giants of the animal kingdom - a herd of North American bison.’
    • ‘Therefore, two herds of deer share these summer ranges and, consequently, mountain lions from Round Valley repartition space on the winter range after months of being apart.’
    • ‘Mr and Mrs Harries, who farm 180 hectares, have a herd of 300 dairy cows, 180 followers and 120 beef cattle.’
    • ‘Here, in the scrubby land mantled in the after glow of a soft sunset, springbok leapt and Cape mountain zebra grazed even as herds of black wildebeest stared at us intently and then galloped away.’
    • ‘There's variety in the animals and produce and the freedom to focus on the aspects you most enjoy, such as foregoing a big garden in favor of a herd of animals.’
    • ‘Pastured flocks and herds of meat animals, dairy herds, and poultry flocks will return, requiring, of course, pastures and hay fields.’
    • ‘The Queen has been accused of ignoring the devastating environmental damage caused by vast herds of red deer that roam across her Highland estate and onto one of Scotland's top nature reserves.’
    • ‘The idea is to move the livestock into bigger herds and move them around more.’
    • ‘About half a mile north-west of Easton he could see a group of mounted figures watching over a herd of large animals.’
    • ‘On the other side of the fence that separates prey from predator, a herd of zebras huddle together and drink from a nearby river.’
    • ‘The buildings huddled together like a herd of deer in the dead of a winter storm, attempting to share warmth and shelter from the elements.’
    • ‘Suppose I have a herd of purebred Angus cattle and I market my beef as a branded product.’
    • ‘It is well known that if a trait is heritable, the easiest and most practical way to change the trait in a herd of cattle is through selection of the sire.’
    • ‘The latest foot and mouth outbreak in Brazil has affected 153 animals in a herd of 582 cattle and eight pigs.’
    • ‘Warm-blooded animals are the only terrestrial creatures that live in large herds or flocks or that migrate long distances.’
    • ‘He started with six cows and had a herd of 26 by high school.’
    flock, drove, pack, group, collection, fold
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    1. 1.1derogatory A large group of people, typically with a shared characteristic.
      ‘I dodged herds of joggers and cyclists’
      ‘he is not of the common herd’
      • ‘The place looked a disgrace, with rubbish all over the place from the chaos the day before, and cleaners had only just started work, trying to sweep up without being bowled over by herds of disgruntled shoppers.’
      • ‘Get an alpine start by leaving Longs Peak Ranger Station no later than 2 a.m. to beat the storms and the herds of Denverites who crowd the trail all summer.’
      • ‘I suppose this fits with her general fastidious nature and adds to the impression that in some way she felt, and actually was, above the common herd in her confidence and control.’
      • ‘So they are cagey about letting the common herd assess their work.’
      • ‘It does not occur to him that we have had half a century of this, and there is a good deal of disillusion with the whole concept of a ‘public sector’ with a higher, nobler ethos than the common herd.’
      • ‘I saw herds of ticket inspectors on the route catching unticketed miscreants during the first week of operation but I've not seen any since.’
      • ‘She had that same aura of persistent irritation that wafts on the breeze ahead of wandering herds of Jehovah's Witnesses.’
      • ‘From the shine atop his bald noggin to the curl in his waxed mustache, Perez strikes a remarkable pose when compared to the herds of button-shirted cowboys gathered around him.’
      • ‘He came to see raves as herds of sensation-hungry young people blindly upping the experiential ante just because they could.’
      • ‘He may as well have clapped me in irons and commenced flogging in front of the herds of law-abiding legal visitors.’
      • ‘The awesome stupidity of the common herd endures and multiplies, in part, because of the bogus trend stories that daily newspapers feed it.’
      • ‘That's fine, so long as you don't believe it elevates you above the common herd.’
      • ‘Here's a tip for you - don't follow the herds of tourists queueing to buy tickets at the kiosk near the garden entrance.’
      • ‘This striking analogy could be useful in considering what is to be done with the herds of students who populate our land.’
      • ‘Friday night Bingo crowds were typically large herds of older females.’
      • ‘Or are rich lawyers not expected to mix with the common herd?’
      • ‘I found myself shouting insults at the telly when I saw herds of women virtually knocking each other unconscious to get at the Stella McCartney clothes in H & M.’
      • ‘Is there some celeb handbook that advises celebs in choosing a remote and inaccessible religious tradition so as to keep clear of the common herd?’
      • ‘If drunken herds of fly-by-night goobers in cowboy hats and Free Republic tee shirts want to stumble up and down Broadway or the Lower East Side at two a.m., so be it.’
      • ‘By keeping wages close to subsistence level, the Arkansas-based retailer offers low prices that draw herds of gleeful shoppers away from the competition.’
      crowd, group, bunch, horde, mass, mob, host, pack, multitude, throng, swarm, army, company, press
      the common people, the masses, the public, the people, the rank and file, the populace, the multitude, the crowd, the commonality, the commonalty, the third estate, the plebeians
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  • 1[with adverbial of direction] (with reference to a group of people or animals) move in a particular direction.

    [with object] ‘Nick herded me through the baggage claim and into his Jaguar’
    [no object] ‘we all herded into a storage room’
    • ‘If you want to build a ship, don't herd together people to gather wood — divide the work and give orders.’
    • ‘But later troops armed with machine guns herded further columns of refugees back.’
    • ‘I can't be taken seriously, after all I've stepped out of the flock and refuse to be herded into a huddle.’
    • ‘This species may also hunt in packs on occasion by herding and trapping smaller fish.’
    • ‘But public service companies like Translink can herd children onto a bus that make them, he said, dangerously overloaded.’
    • ‘We had been split into groups and herded into work on a Saturday to film the trailer.’
    • ‘Some 150 Afghans from the camp were herded onto buses and then dumped back across the border in Afghanistan, a wholly illegal act.’
    • ‘With no two tumours, no two treatments and no two sufferers ever the same, cancer patients need to be treated as individuals, not herded through the system.’
    • ‘Some demonstrators were injured and five reportedly arrested when the police suddenly moved forward to herd people off the roadway.’
    • ‘Don't herd folk into the stinking cities - let our villages and small towns flourish.’
    • ‘The kids are to be deposited at the school, herded into minibuses and driven up while the adults walk.’
    • ‘I usually avoid being herded around on a bus, but we had such a tiny amount of time and money.’
    • ‘We saw people in all rooms of the house just scatter and get herded out by the cops.’
    • ‘Journalists were herded into buses and taken to mystery destinations for the announcement of unknown policies.’
    • ‘A handful resisted arrest by going limp, and were separated from the rest of us, who were herded into a police bus.’
    • ‘On arrival, I was dragged in through the door and herded to the table where an accusing glass of wine was already sitting waiting for me.’
    • ‘In fact, the hordes of people they're herding into engineering and computer classes will have nowhere to go when they come out.’
    • ‘Eighty or so villagers were taken from their homes and herded to the plaza area.’
    • ‘As babies grow bigger and fiercer, they contribute more mess and filth than llamas herded into your living room, and yet they're so sniffy about dirt.’
    • ‘Now imagine this if you can: you are taken from your mother and father as a child and herded onto a large truck or plane with complete strangers.’
    drive, round up, shepherd, gather, collect, assemble, guide, kettle
    crowd, pack, flock
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  • 2[with object] Keep or look after (livestock)

    ‘Hunter and Tripp herded sheep’
    • ‘There was something about the rolling stride with which they moved that spoke of a lifetime of forking hay, sitting astride tractors, or herding cattle and sheep.’
    • ‘We traditional farmers are their peasants now; our job is to till the soil, wear flat caps and herd our cattle and sheep with dogs and sticks.’
    • ‘They must give them clothes, look after their garden, herd their cattle, sheep and goats, build their grain stores and houses.’
    • ‘What he was certain about was that, had he stayed in Greece, he'd still be herding sheep.’
    • ‘Many Iraqis live a nomadic existence in tents, herding goats, sheep or cattle.’
    • ‘I am pretty sure the dog would be happier killing those sheep than herding them.’
    • ‘Before the war he was a farmer, he herded cows and sheep.’
    • ‘Unlike most dog breeds, it continues to be bred, used and valued for its original purpose - herding livestock.’
    • ‘The popularity of sheepdog trials is surging in Australia, despite a declining rural population and a growing trend of using motorbikes to herd sheep and cattle.’
    • ‘Instead, we now want our heroes out in the woods, chopping down trees, fencing in livestock, herding geese and curing bacon.’
    • ‘Elaine Hill's Sheepdog Handling Display Team delighted the crowds, if not the geese they were herding, with their skill and speed.’
    • ‘Both Ellen and Berit Anne herded reindeer in their youth.’
    • ‘Children provide much-needed labor in herding livestock and farming.’
    • ‘These are pastoralists or nomads, if you will, who make their living by herding their livestock.’
    • ‘He was soon followed by an old man herding sheep and goats.’
    • ‘He will be prepared to participate in political change, engage in rebuilding his country, or return to herding livestock.’
    • ‘Samoyeds were traditionally used to herd reindeer and guard against wolves and bears.’
    • ‘The Sami, as a nomadic tribe, never concerned itself much with borders anyway as it herded reindeer across the region.’
    • ‘Using mobile electric fencing, Jim herds his cattle through the fields daily to strip-graze concurrent sections.’
    • ‘He knew what it was like to herd sheep and cattle, to pick blackberries and blackcurrants, to thin beets and snag turnips.’
    look after, take care of, keep, tend, watch, watch over, mind, guard
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Old English heord, of Germanic origin; related to German Herde.