1 of 2


: a typically large group of animals of one kind kept together under human control
a herd of cattle
: a congregation of gregarious wild animals
herds of antelopes
: a group of people usually having a common bond
a herd of tourists
: a large assemblage of like things
herds of cars
: the undistinguished masses : crowd
isolate the individual prophets from the herdNorman Cousins
herdlike adjective


2 of 2


herded; herding; herds

transitive verb

: to gather, lead, or drive as if in a herd (see herd entry 1 sense 1a)
herded the children into the car
: to keep or move (animals) together
dogs that are trained to herd sheep
: to place in a group
herd us with their kindred foolsJonathan Swift

intransitive verb

: to assemble or move in a herd (see herd entry 1)
herding onto the subway
: to place oneself in a group : associate
it is desirable that young noblemen should herdSir Walter Scott

Example Sentences

Noun The herd grazed peacefully in the pasture. A herd of shoppers waited anxiously for the store to open. Verb The horses were herded into the corral. We left the hotel and were herded onto a bus. They herded the students into the auditorium. The commuters herded onto the train. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
This was no isolated, wilderness area as researchers found about 700 people living there amid roads, walking trails and livestock herds. Matt Hrodey, Discover Magazine, 9 May 2023 The cows were found mutilated in the same manner with the tongue removed and nothing noticeable in the surrounding grass, but each cow was found in a different location and belonged to a different herd. Lana Ferguson, Dallas News, 23 Apr. 2023 In 2021, the hunters shot and killed a wandering herd of cows about 45 miles west of Corbeaux’s homestead. Catherine Porter, BostonGlobe.com, 15 Apr. 2023 Between injuries and poor performances, Baffert’s multimillion-dollar thundering herd has been winnowed to just one Derby qualifier — Reincarnate, handled by Yakteen. Joe Drape, New York Times, 11 Apr. 2023 Most Explore Ranches properties are working livestock operations, and at Southern Utah’s Ranch at Wild Rose, aspiring wranglers can don their Stetsons for an authentic multiday herd haul. Leilani Maire Labong, Travel + Leisure, 22 Feb. 2023 This property is expected to support the rancher’s herd for two months. Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune, 9 Dec. 2022 There are 32 distinct caribou herds in the state with a combined population of some 950,000 animals, according the Alaska Department of Game and Fish (ADGF). Travis Hall, Field & Stream, 4 May 2023 For Ray, other human beings tend to present as categories or herds. Daisy Hildyard, The New York Review of Books, 4 May 2023
Another staffer, who is a retired Army sergeant, then herded all of the staffers into an office to safeguard them, Connolly said. Olivia Diaz, Washington Post, 15 May 2023 Might the domestication of horses that took place there 5,000-odd years ago have been brought about by episodic drought that pushed pastoralists to give up on herding less resilient herbivores? Ben Ehrenreich, The New Republic, 10 May 2023 They were herded onto charter buses that drove north of Khartoum to an air base, put onto a military plane, and finally flown out of Sudan to neighboring Djibouti on April 24. Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN, 28 Apr. 2023 Border Patrol agents in marked and unmarked SUVs, as well as agents on ATVs, quickly stopped the migrants and then herded them back to the space between the fences, indicating that the migrants were not free to leave and thus were in the custody of law enforcement. Kate Morrissey, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Apr. 2023 After dinner, Ellen herded us to a disco, where a publication party for Bob Allen's book George Jones was getting up to speed. William Jeanes, Car and Driver, 9 Apr. 2023 Indiana Jones is on his way to herd us all back into movie theaters. Mary Mcnamara, Los Angeles Times, 7 Apr. 2023 Taurus April 20-May 20 Syncing up with your usual crew may feel like herding cats today. Tarot Astrologers, Chicago Tribune, 25 Mar. 2023 Rescue teams used kayaks to herd the animal before transporting it to deeps waters. Nadine El-bawab, ABC News, 4 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'herd.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Old English heord; akin to Old High German herta herd, Middle Welsh cordd troop, Lithuanian kerdžius shepherd

First Known Use


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of herd was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near herd

Cite this Entry

“Herd.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/herd. Accessed 29 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: a number of animals of one kind kept or living together
: the common people


2 of 2 verb
: to assemble or come together into a herd or group
: to gather, lead, or drive a herd
herd cattle
herder noun

More from Merriam-Webster on herd

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