Grammar Chaos: The How-tos of Horde and Hoard

Posted on Jun 13, 2018

If you have a hankering for homophones but can’t tell the difference between the words horde and hoard, keep reading! We’re here to help you set those tricky terms apart.


It’s easy to refer to large groups of animals when you know the right collective term for each species. For instance, you can admire a pride of lions from a distance or hear a pack of wolves howling into the night. Schools of fish populate the seas, while parades of elephants roam the jungle wilds. But if you can’t remember all those strange terms, you can just refer to a group of animals as a hoard. Or . . . was it horde? Hmmm . . .

As with many like-sounding terms, horde and hoard are often hard to tell apart. Luckily, their definitions couldn’t be any simpler. Let’s start with hoard. This can be used as a noun or a verb. A hoard is defined as “a supply or fund stored up and often hidden away.” Likewise, to hoard is “to collect and often hide away a supply of.”

  1. He keeps a hoard of money in a separate account for emergencies.

  2. I have a bad habit of hoarding books without actually reading them.

  3. he dragon Smaug keeps a hoard of treasure underneath the Lonely Mountain.

  4. Hoard of Cheese

Meanwhile, the word horde, solely used as a noun, is defined as “a large unorganized group of individuals” or “a teeming crowd or throng.” This isn’t limited to people and can extend to groups of animals as mentioned earlier. It should be noted that horde is often used to refer to nomadic peoples and tribes and, as a result, can be derogatory. Use horde as a general term to be safe.

  1. A horde of protesters gathered along Wall Street that morning.

  2. The poacher hoarded the horde of hawks into his truck.

  3. To his horror, he was trapped by a horde of shoppers while trying to exit the mall.

Zombie Horde

Here’s a tip: If you need to differentiate hoard and horde on the spot, just remember that only hoard contains the letter a, as in “action,” and hoard can be used as a verb, while horde can only be used as a noun. Now you won’t have any difficulty hoarding all this knowledge into your memory next time!

Need a hand with like-sounding words and general grammar? Visit the Grammar Chaos series on the 1-Hour Proofreading blog!


Disclaimer: Images are not ours. Credit to the owner.

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