Old English Herefordscir, from Hereford (958), literally "ford suitable for the passage of an army" (see harry (v.) + ford (n.). Probably so-called in reference to the Roman road passing over the Wye River. Herford in Germany has the same etymology. As the name for a type of cattle, first bred there, it is attested from 1789.
updated on October 10, 2017