“hoard” and “horde”

Both words are pronounced the same way. They rhyme with “board”, “ford”, and “sword”. “Hoard” is normally used to describe the accumulation of something for future use. When you hoard something, you generally store it as a precautionary measure. The thing that is hoarded could be money, food, etc. The important thing to remember about hoarding is that it is done in secret. Not many people are aware of the fact that you are putting something away. The use of “hoard” shows disapproval; it often suggests miserliness. The word comes from the Old English “hord” meaning “a secret store”. A person who hoards is called a hoarder.

*Merchants who were caught hoarding rice were sent to prison. *The police found the miser’s hoard and distributed it among the poor.

In informal contexts, the word “hoards” can be used to mean “a very large amount.”

*We have hoards of time to complete the project.

The word “horde” was first used to refer to nomads — i.e., wandering tribes. Gypsies, for instance, were referred to as hordes. Nowadays, the word is used to talk about any disorganised crowd.

*Hordes of football hooligans walked into the club singing loudly. *I didn’t enjoy my vacation. There were hordes of people camped around the lake.

According to some scholars the word comes from the Turkish “ordu” meaning “camp”. They maintain that it is from this Turkish word that we get “Urudu”.

Sourced from  ‘Know Your English’ Series – The Hindu Daily, June 13, 2005.

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