News

Loading...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Collectives

I just finished Word Watching by Julian Burnside. One chapter discusses the 1486 Book of St. Albans, which was about "Hawkynge, Huntynge, Fysshynge and Coote Armiris." The book lists some names of collections you may have forgotten:
A skein of geese (in flight)
A gaggle of geese (on the ground)
A string of ponies
An exaltation of hawks
A skulk of foxes
A hover of trout
A drift of hogs
A bouquet of pheasants
A sloth of bears
A shrewdness of apes
A murder of crows
An unkindness of turkeys
An ostentation of peacocks
A parliament of owls
A barren of mules
A gam of whales
A murmuration of starlings
A mustering of storks

And for people, you have, of course, an eloquence of lawyers, a misbelieving of painters, a superfluity of nuns, and a worship of writers.

8 comments:

  1. Which just goes to show that even in 1486, people weren't above taking the mickey.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I recall Johnny Carson's own contribution to the list: a rash of prostitutes and a shaft of proctologists.

    ReplyDelete
  3. For more examples of these collective nouns see:

    here


    and here

    A source of many of these is James Lipton's (yes he of Inside the Actor's Studio fame) book:

    An Exhaltation of Larks

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous3:57 PM

    A lull of Daves.

    ReplyDelete
  5. <a href="http://www.xanga.com/buy_levitra">Buy Levitra</a>11:16 AM

    Great article! Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  6. <a href="http://phentermine1.eamped.com">Phentermine</a>5:03 PM

    Thanks for interesting article.

    ReplyDelete
  7. <a href="http://courses.cvcc.vccs.edu/ENG112_GROSS/_Chat_Room/000008fd.htm">Anonimous</a>7:31 AM

    Excellent website. Good work. Very useful. I will bookmark!

    ReplyDelete