See also: Shepherd


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From Middle English schepherde, from Old English sċēaphierde, a compound of sċēap (sheep) and hierde (herdsman), equivalent to modern sheep +‎ herd (herder).



shepherd (plural shepherds, feminine shepherdess)

  1. A person who tends sheep, especially a grazing flock.
    Synonym: pastor (now rare)
    Hyponym: shepherdess (f.)
    • 1906, Stanley J[ohn] Weyman, chapter I, in Chippinge Borough, New York, N.Y.: McClure, Phillips & Co., →OCLC, page 01:
      It was April 22, 1831, and a young man was walking down Whitehall in the direction of Parliament Street. He wore shepherd's plaid trousers and the swallow-tail coat of the day, with a figured muslin cravat wound about his wide-spread collar.
    1. A male sheep tender
      Coordinate term: shepherdess (f.)
  2. (figurative) Someone who watches over, looks after, or guides somebody.
    Hyponym: shepherdess (f.)
    1. A male watcher/guardian/guider/leader
      Coordinate term: shepherdess (f.)
  3. (figurative) The pastor of a church; one who guides others in religion.
    Hyponym: shepherdess (f.)
    1. A male pastor
      Coordinate term: shepherdess (f.)
  4. (poetic) A swain; a rustic male lover.
  5. A German Shepherd.
    • 2022 May 19, James Verini, “Surviving the Siege of Kharkiv”, in The New York Times Magazine[1]:
      The dirt floor, low ceiling and unfinished stone walls were barely illuminated by candles and a dim string of green decorative lights. A nervous shepherd mix barked at me as a woman tried to calm it. When my eyes adjusted, I saw people in corners.

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The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


shepherd (third-person singular simple present shepherds, present participle shepherding, simple past and past participle shepherded)

  1. (transitive) To watch over; to guide.
    • 2012, The Onion Book of Known Knowledge, page viii:
      Each entry in this volume was assigned to a different preeminent scholar who was responsible for shepherding that specific entry, and that specific entry alone, into being.
  2. (transitive, Australian rules football) To obstruct an opponent from getting to the ball, either when a teammate has it or is going for it, or if the ball is about to bounce through the goal or out of bounds.