a. A group of cattle or other large herbivorous mammals of a single kind kept together for a specific purpose.
b. A number of wild animals of one species, especially large herbivorous mammals, that remain together as a group: a herd of elephants.
a. A large number of people; a crowd: a herd of stranded passengers.
b. The multitude of common people regarded as a mass: "It is the luxurious and dissipated who set the fashions which the herd so diligently follow" (Henry David Thoreau).
v. herd·ed, herd·ing, herds
To come together in a herd: The sheep herded for warmth.
1. To gather, keep, or drive (animals) in a herd.
2. To tend (sheep or cattle).
3. To gather and place into a group or mass: herded the children into the auditorium.
[Middle English, from Old English heord.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.