A peep of chickens

A peep of chickens

‘Peep’ is for chicks, surely, but when they grow up, it doesn’t quite work.  How about instead: a haggle of hens, a pecking of chickens or a brooding or clucking of either … the latter evoking that contented, almost purring sound hens make when...
Bullocks in droves

Bullocks in droves

I remember pubs in Scotland called The Drover’s Inn, and this collective noun can be used for cattle more generally.  And of course, tourists and other groups of humans, as in ‘the tourists pitched up in...
A clowder of cats

A clowder of cats

The spell check keeps trying to change ‘clowder’ to ‘chowder’, which I don’t think anyone would want made of cats. According to the only reference I could find, ‘clowder’ is related to ‘clutter’, and another...
A feast of brewers

A feast of brewers

A foody collective noun for a drinks purveyor.  Here are some alternatives I made up: a pickling, a froth, a draught or a barrel of brewers?  Pour yourself a beer while you ponder which is the...
A chapter of canons

A chapter of canons

A neutrally ecclesiastical term, so stick with this if you need to speak about a group of canons in polite company.   But for some reason, some unjust image comes to mind which makes me think: a portliness, a rotundity, or a blitheness of...
A conclave of cardinals

A conclave of cardinals

The word ‘conclave’ evokes the thud of a great heavy door closing behind the last cardinal to enter a thick-walled, dim-lit, tapestry-draped room where, gathered with his incarnadine-robed peers, in muted voices their schemes are debated. You’re...

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