\ 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 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 A few weeks ago, news organizations were updating graphs with vaccination rates rising upward, moving steadily toward the goal of herd immunity. Melody Schreiber, The New Republic, 11 June 2021 However, San Francisco is slightly ahead with the nation's best rate of residents 12 and above who've had at least one vaccine shot, 79-78%, and could inch ahead in the race for herd immunity. Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY, 10 June 2021 Measles vaccination coverage in schools in the affected area was only 77 percent, far below the 93 to 95 percent needed for herd immunity. Anchorage Daily News, 10 June 2021 From 2018 to 2019, a measles outbreak occurred in Rockland County, N.Y., and nearby counties; measles vaccination coverage in schools in the affected area was only 77 percent, far below the 93 to 95 percent needed for herd immunity. BostonGlobe.com, 10 June 2021 At 43%, the state is likely not going to reach the crucial herd immunity threshold when enough people are vaccinated to provide protection for those in a community who are not vaccinated. Molly Beck, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 10 June 2021 But the vaccination rate of 41.7% falls short of the 70% to 80% level estimated to provide herd immunity against the novel coronavirus. Mark Wert, The Enquirer, 10 June 2021 One of the state’s main arguments was the CDC’s requirement of 95 percent vaccinations in order to avoid simulated cruises is not in line with President Biden’s goal of having 70 percent of adults vaccinated in order to reach herd immunity. Mckenna King, sun-sentinel.com, 10 June 2021 According to the Vermont Department of Health, 79.6% of people eligible for vaccination in the state have had at least one shot—a vaccination level that some epidemiologists have said is approaching herd immunity. Melanie Grayce West, WSJ, 10 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The aim is to get the state closer to herd immunity, which means 75% to 80% of the population needs to be inoculated. Lisa Donovan, chicagotribune.com, 2 June 2021 Now, however, California, like the rest of the country, is racing to get enough of its residents vaccinated to reach something close to herd immunity before a deadly fourth Covid wave crashes across the state. Chris Lehmann, The New Republic, 11 May 2021 Experts believe that 10% to 20% of people have been infected in most California counties, which means that some places with high vaccination rates may already be at or very close to herd immunity levels. Erin Allday, San Francisco Chronicle, 9 May 2021 Over the course of the pandemic, public health experts have pointed to herd immunity—the level of immunity in a population, due to both infections and vaccinations, at which large viral outbreaks are prevented—as a key goal of vaccination efforts. Eliza Fawcett, courant.com, 5 May 2021 While Dallas County inches closer to herd immunity, one section of Oak Cliff is among the 12 Dallas-area ZIP codes that have already hit the threshold through COVID-19 vaccinations, according to the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation. Destine Gibson, Dallas News, 4 May 2021 As the vaccine brings us closer to herd immunity, more activities can be considered safe, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, 27 Apr. 2021 Vaccine content provides the inoculated with a sense of closure, even as infections continue to spread and herd immunity is out of reach. New York Times, 27 Apr. 2021 Those without passports would then become the refuseniks, who have voluntarily rejected contributing to herd immunity. Peter Baldwin, CNN, 19 Apr. 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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Statistics for herd

Last Updated

14 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Herd.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/herd. Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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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


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