hoard ; horde

A hoard is a stash of something, usually hidden away. To hoard items is to accumulate them and stash them away. A horde is a throng or teeming crowd (originally a nomadic tribe). Like many other pairs of homophones, these give writers trouble. Hoard often displaces horde—e.g.:

  • “Ice-cream melted in seconds, sweat beads trickled down faces and hoards [read hordes] of residents hurried to the beach to avoid the searing temperatures that scorched the county Saturday afternoon.”

    Jody Kleinberg, “Heat Sizzles to 8-Year High,” Press Democrat (Santa Rosa), 21 July 1996, at B1.

  • “A dry winter wasn’t enough to reduce the roving hoards [read hordes] of Africanized honey bees that have swarmed the region in recent years.”

    Joyesha Chesnick, “Abuzz About Bees,” Tucson Citizen, 7 Aug. 1999, at B1.

  • “Thanks to the movie ‘Titanic,’ hoards [read hordes] of teenagers head to the railings to mimic the famous scene in the movie in which the ship’s hero shouts, ‘I’m king of the world.’”

    Anne Veigle, “Set Sail for Fascinating Journey Through Navy Museum,” Wash. Times, 10 Aug. 1999, at E5.

Likewise, horde (exclusively a noun) sometimes displaces the verb hoard—e.g.:

  • “Wright is critical of the art world, which he blames for hording [read hoarding] Basquiat’s paintings like a jealous child.”

    Shonda McClain, “Wright’s ‘Basquiat,’ a Fitting Tribute, in Bold, Living Colors,” Phil. Trib., 9 Aug. 1996, at E6.

  • “They prefer to binge on points rather than hording [read hoarding] a stash.”

    Ryan Ori, “Semifinal Victors Turn Foes Inside Out,” Peoria J. Star, 14 Mar. 1999, at D16.

  • “No ticket hording [read hoarding] allowed, though.”

    “TGIF,” Fla. Today, 23 July 1999, at G7.

Finally, through a mistaken association of the two words, the misspelling *hoarde often crops up—e.g.:

“This has provoked hoardes [read hordes] of ethnic Albanian refugees to return to their homeland before it is safe.”

“Civilized Nations Should Never Resort to War,” Buffalo News, 14 July 1999, at B3.

Language-Change Index

  • 1. hoard misused for the noun horde: Stage 1

  • 2. horde misused for the verb hoard: Stage 1

  • 3. horde misspelled *hoarde: Stage 1

  • An asterisk (✳) precedes words and phrases that are invariably inferior forms.
    Garner’s Modern American Usage, Bryan A. Garner