50 Obscure Collective Nouns

The next time someone ask you, “Did you know that it’s a ‘murder’ of crows?” (and let’s face it, everyone knows that now, thanks to the ‘fludge’ of collective noun sayers out there) you can reply: “Yes. And it’s a ‘parliament’ of rooks and an ‘unkindness’ of ravens. So shut up.”

Actually, most collective nouns were coined during the 15th century when they were often codified in books of courtesy for the medieval gentleman. The 1486 classic Book of St. Albans for example, contained a list of 164 collective nouns, titled “The Compaynys of Beestys and Fowlys.”

But if tracking down a copy of such a medieval tome is too much you might want to take a look at James Lipton’s fantastic compendium of collective nouns, [amazon asin=0140170960&text=An Exaltation Of Larks]. Here are a few choice cuts from the book…

  1. Business of Ferrets
  2. Labor of Moles
  3. Mustering of Storks
  4. Shrewdness of Apes
  5. Gam of Whales
  6. Smack of Jellyfish
  7. Host of Angels
  8. Fusillade of Bullets
  9. Baptism of Fire
  10. Quiver of Arrows
  11. Tissue of lies
  12. Murder of Crows
  13. Unkindness of Ravens
  14. Dule of Doves
  15. Clowder, Cluster, or Clutter of Cats
  16. Kindle of Kittens
  17. Mute of Hounds
  18. Pass of Asses
  19. Ostentation of Peacocks
  20. Team of Ducks (when flying)
  21. Paddling of Ducks (when on water)
  22. Trip of Goats
  23. Sloth, or Sleuth, of Bears
  24. Charm of Finches
  25. Hill of Beans
  26. String of Ponies
  27. Hand of Bananas
  28. College of Cardinals
  29. Shock of Corn
  30. Band of Men
  31. Knot of Toads
  32. Wedge of Swans (when flying)
  33. Parliament of Owls
  34. Superfluity of Nuns
  35. Abominable Sight of Monks
  36. Untruth of Summoners
  37. Doctrine of Doctors
  38. Damning of Jurors
  39. Sentence of Judges
  40. Rascal of Boys
  41. Gaggle of Women
  42. Gaggle of Gossips
  43. Impatience of Wives
  44. Tabernacle of Bakers
  45. Poverty of Pipers
  46. Fighting of Beggars
  47. Neverthriving of Jugglers
  48. Herd of Harlots
  49. Worship of Writers
  50. Hastiness of Cooks

via mental_floss

Pro Tip: Check for more with the Wikipedia list of collective nouns.


« »

Get more stuff like this in your inbox...

Join the gang and get a weekly roundup of the best stuff from the site sent direct to your inbox!

Achievement Unlocked!

Whatcha thinkin?

(your email address won't be shared)