Hordes of People Shouldn’t Hoard

By Maeve Maddox

Jacob Marley wants some input on the uses of hoard vs horde:

Perhaps you could take some time to enlighten us on the proper use of
“horde, hoard.” For instance, [this statement from the writer of a software manual]: “I wrote it as a response to the growing hoards of people…” This just sounds *wrong*.

Yes, it’s wrong, but apparently hordes of writers don’t know it.

Pull In Hoards Of People To Your Venue Using Bluetooth Marketing

you can be on your way to an exponentially-growing network with hoards of people begging you to join it!

It was still a little early for the tulips, but unfortunately that didn’t keep away the hoards of people.

And before anyone puts all the blame on us unschooled Americans, here’s an example from the UK’s Independent:

Lest the hoards of people queuing for the gruel be tempted to embrace the diet of the workhouse she was keen to point out its nutritional drawbacks.

Here are some definitions from the OED.

hoard: noun. An accumulation or collection of anything valuable hidden away or laid by for preservation or future use; a stock, store, esp. of money; a treasure.

horde: A great company, esp. of the savage, uncivilized, or uncultivated; a gang, troop, crew.

You can talk about hoards of gold or hoards of food, but when it comes to huge numbers of people, the word you’re looking for is hordes.

 

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4 Responses to “Hordes of People Shouldn’t Hoard”

  • PreciseEdit

    Good reminder about the two words.

    And one more variation: “Whordes” (not a real word, though used when the writer should have used “horde.”)

    “Whordes of baby-boomers are still going to come to Vegas”
    “People being affected by whordes of spectators”
    “but a whorde of flying insects frantically attacked her”
    “What, you expected a v8 2 door utility car that america has never experienced before to sell in whordes?”

  • Maeve

    Wow! I’d never have thought to look for that spelling. Can some people pronounce it with the /wh/ initial sound?

  • Peter

    Jacob Marley wants some input on the uses of hoard vs horde

    That guy keeps showing up in the middle of the night clanking chains at you, too?

    “Whordes” (not a real word …)

    I’m not so sure — you have a murder of crows, a kettle of hawks and an exaltation of larks; a knot of toads and a gaggle of geese (or, less politely, women), and an aggression of socialists — what’s the proper group-noun for prostitutes?

  • Kathryn

    James Lipton, in his 1968 book “An Exaltation of Larks,” offers this apocryphal story to answer Peter’s question:

    “. . .four dons, each representing a different academic discipline and therefore a different viewpoint, were flapping along the Oxford High when their path was crossed by a small but conspicuous group of prostitutes. The quickest of the dons muttered, ‘A jam of tarts.’ The second, obviously a fellow in Music, riposted, ‘No, a flourish of strumpets.’ From the third, apparently an expert on nineteenth-century English literature, came, ‘Not at all . . . an essay of Trollope’s.’ The fourth–Modern English Literature–said ‘An anthology of pros.'”

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