Words related to shepherd
ruminant mammal of the genus Ovis, as a domestic species, one of the animals most useful to humans, Old English sceap, scep, Northumbrian scap, from West Germanic *skæpan (source also of Old Saxon scap, Old Frisian skep, Middle Low German schap, Middle Dutch scaep, Dutch schaap, Old High German scaf, German Schaf), a word of unknown origin. Not found in Scandinavian (Danish has faar for "sheep") or Gothic (which uses lamb), and with no known cognates outside Germanic. The more usual Indo-European word for the animal is represented in English by ewe.
The plural was leveled with the singular in Old English, but Old Northumbrian had a plural scipo. It has been used from Old English times as a type of timidity and figuratively of those under the guidance of God. The meaning "stupid, timid person" is attested from 1540s.
The image of the wolf in sheep's clothing was in Old English (from Matthew vii.15); that of separating the sheep from the goats is from Matthew xxv.33; the phrase itself by 1570s. To count sheep in a bid to induce sleep is recorded from 1854 but seems not to have been commonly written about until 1870s. It might simply be a type of a tedious activity, but an account of shepherd life from Australia from 1849 ["Sidney's Emigrant's Journal"] describes the night-shepherd ("hut-keeper") taking a count of the sheep regularly at the end of his shift to protect against being answerable for any animals later lost or killed.
Sheep's eyes "loving looks" is attested from 1520s (compare West Frisian skiepseach, Dutch schaapsoog, German Schafsauge). A sheep-biter was "an ill-trained mongrel, a dog that worries sheep" (1540s) and had extended senses: a mutton-monger" (1590s); and "a whore-monger" (1610s, i.e. one who "chases mutton"); hence Shakespeare's sheep-biting "thieving, sneaky." An old London chronicle c. 1450 has went to sheep-wash for "were slain."
Old English heord "herd, flock, company of domestic animals," also, rarely, "a keeping, care, custody," from Proto-Germanic *herdo (source also of Old Norse hjorð, Old High German herta, German Herde, Gothic hairda "herd"), from PIE *kerdh- "a row, group, herd" (source also of Sanskrit śárdhah "herd, troop," Old Church Slavonic čreda "herd," Greek korthys "heap," Lithuanian kerdžius "shepherd"). Of any animals, wild or domestic, from c. 1200; of people, often in a disparaging sense, from c. 1400. Herd instinct in psychology is first recorded 1886.
"one employed in tending a herd of cattle," an alteration of Middle English herdman, from Old English heordman; see herd (n.1) + man (n.). The word was not common until the noun herd (n.2) in sense "keeper of domestic animals which go in herds" fell from use (compare shepherd). The unetymological -s- appeared early 15c., on model of craftsman, etc.