Printable Version
Pronunciation: drowv Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. Horde, multitude, mob, throng of animals or humans moving or capable of movement. 2. A herd or flock of animals being driven somewhere.

Notes: This noun has an only child, drover "someone who drives animals somewhere". Today's word is used most often in the idiomatic phrase in droves, which means "a very large crowd", as in "People came in droves."

In Play: This word originally referred only to animals: "Droves of blackbirds swarm into the trees in his back yard every spring." Today, however, it may also refer to people: "High housing prices are driving Californians out of their home state in droves."

Word History: The ancestor of today's Good Word was Old English draf from drifan "to drive". Drifan came through English's Germanic ancestors from Proto-Indo-European dhreibh- "to drive, push", origin also of German treiben "to drive, push", Dutch drijven "to float, drift, drive", and Swedish driva "drive, drift, push". Evidence from other Indo-European languages includes Lithuanian drìbti "fall, drop". English drift also derived from this word. 'Snow drift' came from the sense of drove, droves of snow(flakes) driven somewhere by the wind. In Dutch drift means, among other things, "herd".

Dr. Goodword,

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