ride herd on


1 [hurd]
a number of animals kept, feeding, or traveling together; drove; flock: a herd of cattle; a herd of sheep; a herd of zebras.
Sometimes Disparaging. a large group of people: The star was mobbed by a herd of autograph seekers.
any large quantity: a herd of bicycles.
the herd, the common people; masses; rabble: He had no opinions of his own, but simply followed the herd.
verb (used without object)
to unite or go in a herd; assemble or associate as a herd.
ride herd on, to have charge or control of; maintain discipline over: He rode herd on 40 students in each class.

before 1000; Middle English; Old English heord; cognate with Gothic hairda, German Herde

1. See flock1. 2. crowd, mob.

See collective noun.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To ride herd on
World English Dictionary
herd1 (hɜːd)
1.  a large group of mammals living and feeding together, esp a group of cattle, sheep, etc
2.  derogatory often a large group of people
3.  derogatory the large mass of ordinary people
4.  to collect or be collected into or as if into a herd
[Old English heord; related to Old Norse hjörth, Gothic hairda, Old High German herta, Greek kórthus troop]

herd2 (hɜːd)
1.  a.  archaic, dialect or a man or boy who tends livestock; herdsman
 b.  (in combination): goatherd; swineherd
2.  to drive forwards in a large group
3.  to look after (livestock)
[Old English hirde; related to Old Norse hirthir, Gothic hairdeis, Old High German hirti, Old Saxon hirdi, herdi; see herd1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

O.E. heord, from P.Gmc. *kherdo- (cf. O.N. hjorð, O.H.G. herta, Ger. Herde, Goth. hairda "herd"), from PIE *kherdha- "a row, group" (cf. Skt. sardhah "herd, troop," O.C.S. creda "herd," Gk. korthys "heap," Lith. kerdzius "shepherd"). The verb is first recorded 1393. Herdsman is O.E. heordman, but
not common until herd in sense of "keeper of domestic animals which go in herds" fell from use (cf. shepherd). Intrusive -s- appeared c.1600, on model of craftsman, etc. Herd instinct in psychology is first recorded 1908.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Bible Dictionary

Herd definition

Gen. 13:5; Deut. 7:14. (See CATTLE.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

ride herd on

Keep close watch or tight control over, as in Aunt Martha is always riding herd on her bridge club, making sure they follow the rules. This idiom alludes to the cowboy who rides around a herd of cattle to keep them together. [Late 1800s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature