'Horde' or 'hoard'? How to tell the difference

Horde and hoard are two words that are often confused. Here’s how to remember the difference.

A horde refers to a large crowd or mob. For example:

Hordes of protesters gathered in the town square on Saturday.

I can’t face battling against the hordes of shoppers on Oxford Street.

In contrast, the noun hoard means a pile or stash of something. It’s also a verb, meaning to stockpile something. So for example:

She had a hoard of cash under the mattress.

In other words, she had a stash of cash under the mattress. And:

He began hoarding food in preparation for the apocalypse.

In other words, the began accumulating food in expectation of the zombie apocalypse.

It’s easy to see why horde and hoard are easily confused, because both refer to things in large quantities - whether it’s crowds in the case of horde or cash and consumables in the case of hoard.

One way to remember the difference is to compare the -oard spelling of hoard with places you might keep such a hoard - for example, in a cupboard or under the floorboards.