Although they may sound the same when spoken, “hoard” and “horde” have distinct meanings. As such, mixing them up in your writing will look bad. But you can avoid confusion by learning their definitions and usage.
Hoard (A Stockpile)
The word “hoard” can be used as either a verb or a noun. As a verb, “hoard” means to accumulate and store a stockpile of something for future use. This will usually be something valuable and therefore closely guarded, such as a “hoard” of treasure:
The mad king hoarded gold, determined to keep it all to himself.
Sometimes, “hoarding” has a negative meaning, especially if the thing being hoarded is considered worthless or unpleasant:
The old man would hoard old newspapers, keeping them in his basement.
We can also use “hoard” as a noun to refer to a stockpile that has been collected and guarded. We would use it in a sentence like this:
The pirate returned to the hidden cave to retrieve his hoard of stolen booty.
Horde (A Mob or Crowd)
“Horde” is a noun meaning a large group or crowd. It originally described nomadic warrior tribes, but it is now more commonly used to refer to large, rowdy groups of people:
A horde of drunken baseball fans crowded onto the subway carriage.
As well as describing groups of people, we can apply “horde” to swarms or packs of animals, especially wasps, mosquitoes, and other flying insects:
A horde of mosquitoes ruined the picnic.
Remember not to confuse “horde” with “herd” in this context, as ‘herd’ is simply the group name for hoofed mammals.
Hoard or Horde?
Although these terms sound similar, they’re different enough in meaning that it should be easy to tell them apart. Remember:
Hoard (verb) = To collect or stockpile something
Hoard (noun) = A collection or stockpile
Horde (noun) = An unruly mob