Saturday, January 05, 2008

Collective nouns

One of the craziest oddities of the English language is that there are so many different collective nouns that all mean "group" but which are specific to what particular thing there is a group of: a herd of elephants, a crowd of people, a box of crayons, a pad of paper, etc. There is great diversity of collective nouns associated with animals, from a sleuth of bears to a murder of crows. The following is a list of the correct terms to describe groups of various types of animals.

Here are just a few that I’ve never hear of:

  • drove of pigs

  • herd of pigs

  • farrow of pigs (piglets)

  • sounder of pigs (wild pigs)

  • cartload of monkeys

  • troop of monkeys

  • clowder of cats

  • clutter of cats

  • glaring of cats

  • pounce of cats

  • dout of cats (house cats)

  • nuisance of cats (house cats)

  • kendle of cats (kittens)

  • kindle of cats (kittens)

  • destruction of cats (wild cats)

  • rhumba of rattlesnakes

  • convocation of eagles

  • prickle of hedgehogs

  • bloat of hippopotami

  • memory of elephants

  • congregation of crocodiles

  • charm of hummingbirds

There are many, many more here.



TimO said...

I always liked "a murder of crows"....

Anonymous said...

Years ago I made up one for a family of little kittens: a 'Chorus of kittens', for how they all cry at once.

WooHoo said...

I've heard of elephants before!