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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

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

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

ride herd on (someone or something)

To keep an eye on 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

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

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

ride herd on someone/something

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, something

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

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

ride herd on

To keep watch or control over.
See also: herd, on, ride
References in periodicals archive ?
He said that they reported the incident to the police but they took no action, pointing to a broad campaign of attacks by cattle herders on the farms in the area.
She spent a month living with nomadic families on the Steppes and became fascinated with the relationship between the herders and their shaggy beasts.
This is especially true in connection with the argument over how to situate Herder in regards to the universalism of the Enlightenment: was he wholly opposed to it, only partly so, or best described as articulating some parallel "counter-Enlightenment" at the same time?
Contrary to Herder, who takes the self for granted and describes sensations from the perspective of the perceiving subject, Metzinger approaches the self from an external position that aims at avoiding the fallacies of a distorted, subjective point of view.
So sind wir heutzutage in der Lage, das Rousseu-Bild bei dem jungen Goethe und Herder auch anhand der genannten Arbeiten genauer anzuschauen.
At this meeting herders were able to discuss key land and livelihood issues directly with ministers, donors and government advisors.
At night, the herder and dogs drive the sheep into a portable pen, then the herder electrifies the fence to keep the sheep confined and places red flags around the enclosure.
The unrest -- which has involved thousands of protesters in different areas -- erupted after the May 10 death of a Mongol herder run over by a truck driven by a member of China s dominant Han ethnic group, the Mongol rights group said.
Mergen and other herders were reportedly trying to prevent a convoy of coal-hauling trucks in the Xilingol area, where an influx of mostly Han Chinese miners has threatened to displace the traditional Mongolian herders.
It is so hard to have nothing left and I'm so happy to see people coming to help us," Tsendjav Lkhagvasuren, a herder, said.
He believes Herder provided Pannenberg with a new way of thinking about the image of God as part of our human destiny, but whereas "Herder leaves Christology completely out of the picture," Pannenberg attempts to place Herder's anthropology on a christological foundation, despite Pannenberg's rejection of the charge.
An Israeli bulldozer came in the morning and flattened my shack, my two animal pens and now my family and I are homeless," Abu Faqr Hemdany, a Bedouin herder living in Ras al-Ahmar with his family of three children and a wife, told Al Arabiya.
If the C2 server is privately owned and operated, this offers the herder some protection.