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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 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

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, someone, 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 ?
Mongolian herders did not purchase enough fodder, so the spring season might kill animals that are tired from the harsh winter," said Bayarmaa Chimedtseren, a rangeland monitoring and evaluation specialist at the "Green Gold" animal health project run by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
It would be wrong to assume the Somali herder was killed by Kambas.
But going forward, the herders would not need to wander in search of pasture and water as technology has come to their rescue.
Settlers normally chase herders in the open West Bank fields and often either seize or slaughter their livestock, which is often the main source of income to the Palestinian families.
The traditional oath, revealed to be an effective cultural sanction on herders as its violation is believed to bring tragedy on the culprit, was administered by Alhaji Ardo Mairero, the Sarkin Fulani of Kwara State.
Medivir AB (STO:MVIR), a research-based pharmaceutical company with a focus on oncology, announced on Friday that it has appointed Christina Herder as executive vice president, Strategic Business Development, effective 14 December 2017.
Joseph Workers touch the lives of about 3,000 people in the Twin Cities every year, Herder said.
Jahrhunderts, Ralf Simon and his fellow contributors develop an unfamiliar area in Herder studies, the way for which was prepared by the publications of two scholars, both of whom contribute helpfully to the present volume.
Herder is a manufacturer of flail mowers and other agricultural implements which are sold direct and through dealers to the sugar cane, orchard and other agricultural markets as well as for roadside maintenance.
She said: "I met a herder working hard to save for her daughter's education who inspired me to create a brand which goes one step further than fair-trade, by creating a social company where shares go to empowering the herders supplying the wool to take ownership of the business and its profits, and spend as they see fit.
Since the Diakite could not--and most would not want to--actually expel the herders, their overarching political goal would be to use the corridor to dictate the terms of legitimacy for transhumant herder presence in the Fuladougou.
Seeds recovered at two herder campsites in Kazakhstan represent the earliest evidence of the combined use of bread wheat and broomcorn millet, say anthropologist Robert Spengler of Washington University in St.
Three Critics of the Enlightenment: Vico, Hamann, Herder, 2nd Editon
You have let your audience down by not mentioning this awesome herder.
Herder on Humanity and Cultural Difference: Enlightened Relativism.