This is a pet peeve that’s been building over the past year or so. Like many of my pet peeves about writing, it finally gave birth to a rant. A small rant, but still…
I also admit, this is one of those recurring misused words that, because of my particular niche, I probably see a lot more that the average reader.
There are few things more terrifying than a horde. Just an overwhelming tide of opponents. In history, Genghis Khan had hordes of warriors. If you play Warhammer 40,000, you know Orks are often called the Green Horde. He-Man fought an enemy army called the Horde, led by a guy named Hordak (no, seriously).
And, of course, zombies come in hordes. Great, sweeping, endless hordes. Something about the word just loans itself to a sort of mindless savagery, doesn’t it? In most stories, if I’ve got a zombie horde on my hands, odds are I couldn’t carry enough ammunition to deal with it.
If I have a zombie hoard, though, it means I’ve got an unhealthy obsession with the undead. I’ve actively collected far more zombies than one person could ever possibly use. I won’t get rid of the broken or spoiled ones, either. They just pile up in the basement, the closet, and eventually in the corners of every room of my apartment.
Hoard is a verb, you see (to hoard), although it can also be used as a noun to describe the thing I’ve been hoarding. So a pirate horde is a bunch of guys with swords and eye patches, but a pirate hoard is usually gold and treasure chests and stuff like that.
So, also, nine times out of ten, if I have a zombie hoard it means I’m an idiot who doesn’t know how to spell and never bothers to look anything up. I might be a nice, well-meaning idiot, but I’m still an idiot.
And I’m definitely not a writer.
(In all fairness, there’s a zombie news/collectors website called The Zombie Hoard, but they openly acknowledge that their title is a play on words).
Remember, Genghis Khan conquered most of Asia with his hordes, but they traveled light so he’d never end up on Hoarders.
Oh, and if you’d like to hear a little extra ranting this week, check out the fan page on Facebook where I just put up some thoughts about the comic book industry.
Next time, speaking of Genghis, I’d like to talk about getting active.
Until then, go write.