herd

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Related to herded: heard

be like herding cats

To be very unwieldy or unmanageable; to be nearly impossible to organize. Usually said of a group of people. Getting all of the extended family into their right places for the reunion photo was like herding cats! It's like herding cats trying to manage all these different software development teams.
See also: cat, herd, like

cull the herd

1. Literally, to separate or remove (and usually kill) inferior animals out of a herd so as to reduce numbers or remove undesirable traits from the group as a whole. We had to quickly cull the herd when it came to light that some cows might be carrying an infectious disease.
2. By extension, to separate or remove people from a larger group. With so many people applying for a limited number of jobs, employers have had to cull the herd by introducing much stricter criteria and a more elaborate application for hiring. Universities have long used standardized test results as a means of culling the herd of applicants they receive each year.
See also: cull, herd

herd cats

To attempt to coordinate or control subjects that are uncooperative. Often used as a point of comparison in the phrase "like herding cats." Trying to get my two toddlers out the door these days is like herding cats!
See also: cat, herd

herd together

To gather people or animals together into a group. A noun or pronoun can be used between "herd" and "together." Have you ever tried to herd together a bunch of cats? Yeah, it's impossible. The teacher spent most of the field trip herding the schoolchildren together.
See also: herd, together

like herding cats

Very unwieldy or unmanageable; nearly impossible to organize or control. Usually said of a group of people. Have you ever tried to get a group of 10 toddlers to stick together in a group? It's like herding cats! It felt like herding cats getting all of the family members into their right places for the reunion photo. It can be like herding cats trying to keep all our different departments on the same page.
See also: cat, herd, like

like herding frogs

Very unwieldy or unmanageable; nearly impossible to organize or control. Usually said of a group of people. Have you ever tried to get a group of 10 toddlers to stick together in a group? It's like herding frogs! It felt like herding frogs getting all of the family members into their right places for the reunion photo. It can be like herding frogs trying to keep all our different departments on the same page.
See also: frog, herd, like

ride herd on (someone or something)

To closely observe or monitor someone or something to supervise or maintain control. An allusion to a cowboy riding on his horse to keep a herd of cattle in order. We want the groups of students to work independently, but we should have a teacher riding herd on each one to make sure they stay focused. Being a camp counselor is a lot of fun, but having to ride herd on a bunch of kids for two weeks at a time can be exhausting.
See also: herd, on, ride
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

herd someone or something together

to bunch people or animals together. Let's herd all the kids together and take them in the house for ice cream and cake. I herded all the puppies together and put them in a box while I cleaned their play area.
See also: herd, together

like herding frogs

Rur. chaotic; disorderly. (On the image of trying to direct frogs, which will jump any which way.) Trying to get those kids to march into the auditorium is like herding frogs. Trying to get everybody to cooperate is like herding frogs.
See also: frog, herd, like

ride herd on someone or something

Fig. to supervise someone or something. (Alludes to a cowboy supervising cattle.) I'm tired of having to ride herd on my kids all the time. My job is to ride herd on this project and make sure everything is done right.
See also: herd, on, ride
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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]
See also: herd, on, ride
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

ride herd on someone/something

AMERICAN
If someone rides herd on other people or their actions, they control them. It's his job to ride herd on organizers to keep them on schedule. Note: People sometimes use over instead of on. The ideal situation is one where everyone feels responsible and no one person has to ride herd over the others. Note: Originally, `riding herd' involved patrolling on horseback around a herd of animals, in order to make sure none of them wandered away.
See also: herd, on, ride, someone, something
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

ride herd on

keep watch over.
Literally, this North American expression means ‘guard or control a herd of cattle by riding round its edge’.
1999 Coloradoan (Fort Collins) That, in turn, would detract from his ability to ride herd on Washington special interests, allowing deficits to grow like mushrooms under a rotten log.
See also: herd, on, ride
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

ride ˈherd on somebody/something

(American English, informal) keep watch or control over somebody/something: Police are riding herd on crowds of youths on the streets.
See also: herd, on, ride, somebody, something
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

ride herd on

To keep watch or control over.
See also: herd, on, ride
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

ride herd on, to

To control, boss. This phrase originally meant to control or guard a herd of cattle by riding on its perimeter. Its figurative use dates from the late nineteenth century, and it remains current. The mystery novelist Ed McBain used it in Long Time No See (1977): “Two men who should be taking care of people getting robbed or mugged, go to waste our time instead of riding herd on a bunch of street hoodlums.”
See also: herd, ride, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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