All posts tagged: collective nouns

A Cacophony of Collective Nouns

A pride of lions. A school of fish. A flamboyance of flamingos — yep. I had a bee in my bonnet today (not a hive of them, mind you) about collective nouns. I love them. They’re poetic, they’re nonsensical, they’re fun to think about. A shrewdness of apes. A parliament of owls or — alternatively, if you’re feeling more sinister than magisterial — a looming of them. A prickle (!) of hedgehogs (say hiya to my son, Hedgewig). I can’t tell you why I’ve been thinking about collective nouns. I’ve been drowning in words lately, for all numbers of reasons, and so it was only a matter of time before I dove into collective nouns. According to this oldish article via Medium, there’s not really an answer as to where they come from, collective nouns just… are. Which is frustratingly vague! Apparently, there’s a paradox between actual popular usage and assumed common usage — aka, a text claims the thing is a thing, so it is — between how these things come to be. Linguists …