\ ˈhərd How to pronounce herd (audio) \

Definition of herd

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a typically large group of animals of one kind kept together under human control a herd of cattle
b : a congregation of gregarious wild animals herds of antelopes
2a(1) : a group of people usually having a common bond a herd of tourists
(2) : a large assemblage of like things herds of cars
b : the undistinguished masses : crowd isolate the individual prophets from the herd— Norman Cousins


herded; herding; herds

Definition of herd (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

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

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Other Words from herd


herdlike \ ˈhərd-​ˌlīk How to pronounce herdlike (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for herd

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of herd in a Sentence

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That amount is only about one-seventh of the number of people that would need to be infected to achieve herd immunity. Shari Rudavsky, The Indianapolis Star, "Indiana University study reveals the deadly risk of planning on herd immunity," 26 Nov. 2020 And perhaps most importantly, a vaccine is the only way to reach herd immunity without a bloodbath. Adam Rogers, Wired, "Does the AstraZeneca Vaccine Also Stop Covid Transmission?," 25 Nov. 2020 Tegnell has in the past said that herd immunity is hard to measure and even questioned official figures. Rafaela Lindeberg, Fortune, "Sweden sees no sign of COVID-19 immunity in population exposure, says country’s top epidemiologist," 25 Nov. 2020 The goal of viral vaccinations is to have enough people in a community already immune and incapable of being contagious and spreading a disease, known as herd immunity. Cole Lauterbach, Washington Examiner, "Arizona to get COVID-19 vaccines in mid-December," 24 Nov. 2020 To reach the threshold necessary to establish herd immunity, a majority of Americans will likely need to be vaccinated in coming years. William Wan, Anchorage Daily News, "Coronavirus vaccines face trust gap in Black and Latino communities, study finds," 24 Nov. 2020 Until herd immunity is achieved, limiting close social contacts and wearing masks are the main things that can temper the coronavirus resurgence America is experiencing. Tara John, CNN, "What you need to know about coronavirus on Monday, November 23," 23 Nov. 2020 In the model by Matrajt and her colleagues, herd immunity is achieved once 60 percent of the population is immune. Jill Neimark, Smithsonian Magazine, "What Is the Best Strategy to Deploy a Covid-19 Vaccine?," 23 Nov. 2020 In the model by Matrajt and her colleagues, herd immunity is achieved once 60 percent of the population is immune. Jill Neimark, Scientific American, "Doing the Touchy Math on Who Should Get a COVID Vaccine First," 20 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Desantis has also brought in controversial White House adviser Scott Atlas, who has supported ideas close to herd immunity, which some experts suggest could lead to millions of deaths nationwide. Steven Lemongello, orlandosentinel.com, "COVID-19 tracking apps are launching across the country, but not in Florida," 25 Nov. 2020 The first vaccine shipments in the United States will be just the beginning of what could be a long and turbulent ride to herd immunity and the return of something resembling normal life. Amina Khan Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Coronavirus Today: ‘Band-Aids on a very big wound’," 24 Nov. 2020 In Ball’s account, Nancy Pelosi is as tough as bullets and knows how to count votes, negotiate and herd her tribe — lost skills in American politics, atrophied in the modern-day rush to preen and tweet. Washington Post, "50 notable works of nonfiction in 2020," 19 Nov. 2020 When enough people in a community get vaccinated to protect against a disease, that leads to herd immunity for that population. Tara C. Smith, SELF, "The Concept of Coronavirus Herd Immunity Is Deadly and Dangerous," 9 Nov. 2020 And there’s only one person down there who knows how to herd the cats. John Kass, chicagotribune.com, "Column: If there’s no Boss Madigan, who’ll herd the cats with Illinois in crisis?," 6 Nov. 2020 At the age of 13, she was sent to work for the first time on a Swedish fäbod, or summer farm, to herd the family’s cattle and make sustainable milk products for the coming winter. Jennie Tiderman-Österberg, Smithsonian Magazine, "Why Sweden’s Ancient Tradition of Calling Home the Herds Is Women’s Work," 28 Sep. 2020 In addition to herd management, though, hunters and other sportsmen pay licensing fees. Danielle Butcher, National Review, "The Hunter’s Role in Conserving Our Natural World," 27 Sep. 2020 Rutherford said a large proportion of the population — about 60 or 70% — would need to get vaccinated in order to achieve something close to herd immunity. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "CDC director says face masks may offer more protection against COVID than a vaccine. Here's what other experts say.," 18 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'herd.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of herd


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


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

History and Etymology for herd

Noun and Verb

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

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Time Traveler for herd

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for herd

Last Updated

28 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Herd.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/herd. Accessed 4 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for herd


How to pronounce herd (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of herd

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a group of animals that live or are kept together
: a large group of people
: common people : people as a group



English Language Learners Definition of herd (Entry 2 of 2)

: to gather and move (a group of animals)
: to move (people) in a group
: to form a group or move as a group


\ ˈhərd How to pronounce herd (audio) \

Kids Definition of herd

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a number of animals of one kind kept or living together a herd of cows


herded; herding

Kids Definition of herd (Entry 2 of 2)

: to gather and move as a group herd cattle

Other Words from herd

herder \ ˈhərd-​ər \ noun

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