As I was typing a blog post last week, a tiny red flag flew up the mast in the back of my mind. I ignored it and pressed on toward my writing goal for the day. Fortunately, that small warning kept popping up as I went about business. I don’t know why my mind settled on the word hoard (or was it horde), but I knew I had used it recently only I couldn’t remember where. Making matters worse, after double checking definitions, I realized I had chosen the wrong one.
For two days, I skimmed my memory for how I meant to use it, and that helped me track down the scheduled blog post. Much to my relief, it hadn’t posted yet.
I had chosen hoard when what I meant was horde. Word had completely failed me when it produced neither red, blue, or green squiggles beneath the offending version to prevent my error. The next time I receive a survey from Microsoft during an update, I’m going to request purple squiggles for homonyms, homophones, and homographs. But I digress.
Hoard, the noun, means:
*a stock or store of money or valued objects, typically one that is secret or carefully guarded
“Smaug stood guard over his hoard of treasure.”
*an ancient store of coins or other valuable artifacts
“The search for a hammer resulted in the discovery of the largest hoard of Roman gold coins.”
*an amassed store of useful information or facts, retained for future use
“The NSA has a hoard of stored information about my activities.”
Hoard, the verb, means:
*amass (money or valued objects) and hide or store away
“She hoarded shoes worse than Imelda Marcos.”
*reserve in the mind for future use
“She hoarded every insult against her and plotted her revenge.”
And then there is horde, only a noun and the version I meant to use.
*a large group of people (derogatory)
“The Mongol horde invaded China.”
*a loosely-knit, small social group typically consisting of about five families (Anthropology)
A horde of peasants had lived about five miles outside of the village.