A prodigality of marvels

A prodigality of marvels

A perfect collective noun for a mass of marvels.  There are good reasons the first of Patrick Leigh Fermor’s duo of travel books is entitled A Time of Gifts.One of the most beautifully wrought recollections of a youthful stride across Europe, also capturing...
A doctrine of doctors

A doctrine of doctors

So now, when you are reporting from a medical conference, you know the correct term to package all those medics together.  They are huddling and expostulating as a ‘doctrine’.  Perhaps the collective noun refers, however, as much or more to doctors of the...
A drunkenship of cobblers

A drunkenship of cobblers

What did cobblers do to be nailed with such a bad reputation?  When did you ever see a drunken cobbler? Surely they should cobble together a class action, and hobble such aspersions on their profession, particularly given the favourable light cast on any gathering of...
A temperance of cooks

A temperance of cooks

Having recently revelled in the bursting descriptions of a quaffing, boozing, drunken chef in Mervyn Peake’s Titus Groan, I was surprised to see the collective noun for the profession of cook being ‘temperance’.  Perhaps Swelter is the exception...
A covert of coots

A covert of coots

A covert is a shelter or a hiding place, from which you might study coots.  It can also refer to a thicket in which game can hide.  Does this aquatic bird hide itself in thickets (or reeds), to be given this collective noun? See also my review of Arthur...
A bask of crocodiles

A bask of crocodiles

Delightful collective noun this, suggesting a harmless creature soaking up the sun on a warm mud bank.  Just don’t tread on one when it’s basking.  Or ever.  And remember:   Row, row, row the boat, gently down the stream, Merrily, merrily, merrily-oh,...
A murder of crows

A murder of crows

A memorable collective noun, though perhaps unfair on the poor old crow.  I have a soft spot for these intelligent and social birds and am not aware that they are any more murderous than other hungry...
A cowardice of curs

A cowardice of curs

What a pity we no longer use ‘cur’ to objurgate someone.   And how appropriate that the collective noun should be ‘a cowardice’.  We could perhaps adapt this collective noun to other contexts, as in ‘a cowardice of...
A herd of curlew

A herd of curlew

The first time I have come across ‘herd’ as a collective noun for a bird.  Curlews are large wading birds of the sandpiper family, with a long down-curved bill and brown mottled plumage.  They apparently hang out in...

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