Collecting some collective nouns…

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss an article on collective nouns from the Language Matters blog by the Oxford Dictionaries…

Collective nouns — names for a group of people or things — often make me smile. So many of them are either charming or funny or both. Consider, for example:

blush of boys

stalk of foresters

fluther of jellyfish

shrewdness of apes

bellowing of bullfinches

glaring of cats

parade of elephants

bloat of hippopotami

an exaltation of larks

labour of moles

and, my longtime favourite: a murder of crows.

One of my readers, Ray, recently brought a list of such nouns to my attention. I knew many of them already but the page also provided a link to a Language Matters blog by the Oxford Dictionaries.

I’m going to start reading this blog regularly. I enjoyed learning that,

the first collective nouns were typically ones for groups of animals and birds. A parliament of rooks, a murmuration of starlings, and an unkindness of ravenscan each be traced back as far as the fifteenth century.

Some people collect stamps, others recipes. Me? I like collecting words. Especially collective ones. Thanks for sending me this link, Ray.