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
After fording a creek and burrowing under a barbed wire fence, the men came face to face with a herd of cattle. Joseph Hudak, Rolling Stone, 5 Mar. 2023 The Dallam family has a herd of more than 50 Holstein and Guernsey cows, several pigs, as well as chickens and turkeys that are raised on a second farm. Donna M. Owens, Baltimore Sun, 24 Feb. 2023 Some were housed in the barn, which includes seven paddocks and could easily accommodate a small herd of horses. David Kaufman, Robb Report, 28 Dec. 2022 With the help of a loan of about 30,000 rupees, Ms. Rajpoot is now the owner of a small dairy herd comprising seven cows and one buffalo, and a shop selling children’s clothing. Annie Banerji, The Christian Science Monitor, 12 Dec. 2022 Dawn, the next morning, Jen and Aly spot a small herd of females bedded by a beaver pond 400 yards away. Rachel Levin, Bon Appétit, 19 Sep. 2022 Shenkin IV took four weeks to catch from the royal herd. Alicia Victoria Lozano, NBC News, 11 Sep. 2022 The Eastern Shore herd had a little competition from the wild ponies that roam Grayson Highlands State Park in the state’s southwest corner. Laura Vozzella, Washington Post, 7 Feb. 2023 Market participants don’t necessarily act with pure rationality, and gaining predictive insight into how the investing herd will behave in aggregate is exceedingly difficult. Marc Cooper, Forbes, 6 Feb. 2023
Then the cetaceans herd the school toward the fishers, who are usually standing in the shallow water just offshore. Rachel Nuwer, Scientific American, 30 Jan. 2023 Police officers used their cars in an attempt to herd it toward the water, sounding their sirens every once in a while to move the wayward mammal along. Morgan Krakow, Anchorage Daily News, 8 Oct. 2022 Will Speaker Nancy Pelosi now herd them across it like a docile flock of lambs? The Editorial Board, WSJ, 31 July 2022 Research suggests that herding breeds — Shelties, Border Collies or shepherds — are more fearful because of how they were bred: to herd sheep, for example, but to not kill them. Cari Shane, Discover Magazine, 30 June 2022 The Himalayas, which act as a barrier towards the further inland movement of this arm, herd it towards northern India. Anusha Krishnan, Quartz, 30 May 2022 There have, however, been lineages of dogs bred to the chase, or the lap, or to herd the sheep, for a long, long time. New York Times, 4 Oct. 2021 Yet he’s certainly started this campaign far wiser and exceedingly ready to use the threat of his looming power to try to herd his team into at least something approximating unity. Philip Elliott, Time, 22 Nov. 2022 Growing up in Europe, my parents would routinely pack us into the car and drive us into the Alps to go skiing in Switzerland or Austria, or herd us all onto the train for a weekend in Berlin or Paris. Teddy Minford, Vogue, 8 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

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 27 Mar. 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

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