\ 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

Other Words from herd


herdlike \ ˈhərd-​ˌlīk How to pronounce herd (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 Zhong Nanshan, China’s top Covid-19 expert, who has defended the zero-Covid policy, said last week that in theory China has reached herd immunity through its high level of vaccinations. Keith Zhai, WSJ, 12 Jan. 2022 Family members recall her going all-in, from supporting the cattle business to a consuming interest in gardening and shaping the land to riding herd over a menagerie of dogs, cats, chickens and horses. Mark Woolsey, ajc, 28 May 2021 Cases and deaths were low in mid-January, and experts were predicting that India had built up enough herd immunity to avoid another wave. Amy Mckeever, Science, 28 Dec. 2021 In some populations, enough people will get vaccinated to achieve something like herd immunity. Los Angeles Times, 23 Dec. 2021 This is false — the point of any vaccine is to reduce negative health outcomes of any kind as far as possible, ideally by stamping out transmission entirely through herd immunity. Ryan Cooper, The Week, 17 Dec. 2021 Birx describes 'extraordinarily uncomfortable' moment when Trump suggested injecting disinfectant could fight COVID-19 Other dangerous strategies deployed by the Trump administration include its promotion of herd immunity without vaccines. Amy Nakamura, USA TODAY, 18 Dec. 2021 These vaccination coverages are not yet at the herd immunity thresholds needed to really break the transmission of the virus. Bruce Y. Lee, Forbes, 13 Dec. 2021 With uptake flagging well below what many scientists say is needed to reach herd immunity, a vaccine mandate for the general public is still in the cards. Washington Post, 11 Dec. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The chicks quickly overrun the house and Lucy pretends to be the mother hen to help herd the animals, just in time for Ricky’s arrival home. Lillian Brown, Vulture, 17 Dec. 2021 Scientists recorded groups of more than 100 electric eels working together to circle shoals of small prey fish and herd them to shallow waters in a lake in North Brazil. Sarah Lewin Frasier, Scientific American, 26 Mar. 2021 The whales were spread out along the beach and one of their first tasks was to herd them together again in a pod. Nick Perry, Star Tribune, 22 Feb. 2021 With the county close to herd immunity of 80%, Pfister said most of the new cases are among people 18 and under, with the leading numbers those between the ages of 5 and 10, and 11 to 13. Steve Sadin, chicagotribune.com, 10 Dec. 2021 In the video, the whales can be seen slapping their tails in the ocean, trying to herd the fish. Rhea Mogul, CNN, 14 Sep. 2021 Barry Pepper contributes one of the film’s more memorable turns as a priest trying to herd his flock on the brink of what looks like the least fun stuff from the Book of Revelation. Michael Ordoña, Los Angeles Times, 8 June 2021 Last week, Fauci told reporters that vaccinating millions of children ages 5 to 11 will also stifle community transmission and nudge the country closer to herd immunity. Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY, 2 Nov. 2021 Graven said the current surge will likely push the state to herd immunity, where the number of available hosts who have not been vaccinated or received some natural immunity from previous infections reaches about 90%. oregonlive, 18 Aug. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near herd




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Statistics for herd

Last Updated

21 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Herd.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/herd. Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for herd



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

More from Merriam-Webster on herd

Nglish: Translation of herd for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of herd for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about herd


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