Though pandemics & such may get in the way, we humans tend to form groups, so it’s no surprise that over the centuries English speakers have come up with countless words to label those groups. I hope you’ll enjoy this collection of words that refer to groups of people. Keep an eye out for those you find remarkable (some of my favorites include a w… of soliders, a s… of nuns & a s… of ascetics).
Groups of friends:
Circle, clique, host, multitude, & troop
Groups of nuns:
Convent, nunnery, order, sisterhood, & superfluity
Groups of soldiers:
Army, band, battalion, brigade, casern, century, company, crue, echelle, file, guard, host, kern, maniple, platoon, soldiery, squad, squadron, troop, velites, & wappenshaw
Groups of scholars:
Class, form, grade, & school
Groups of prisoners:
Batch, clutch, colony, & horde
Groups of monks:
Brotherhood, community, kellion, monastery, order, sangha (Buddhist), & skete (Ascetics)
Groups of rogues, ruffians, knaves or thieves:
Crue, picaros, gang, horde, mohock, den, ring, thickness, raffle, & ropery
What's remarkable in all this? Please leave a note in the comments section.
My thanks go out to this week’s sources: OED, Merriam Webster, Wordnik,Etymonline & David W.K. Godrich’s A Gaggle of Geese, 2011
A few years ago I received an unexpected gift. A researcher, author & gentleman named David W. K. Godrich decided I might enjoy the fruit of many years of his and his father’s labor. He sent me A Gaggle of Geese, a two-generation labor of love begun in 1940 and most recently updated in 2011. I so appreciate Mr. Godrich’s generosity.
His book consists of 238 pages of lists of collective nouns. Early on in the book, the entries for groups of bees caught my attention & inspired a little research of my own. Though each term in this list may have a slightly different meaning, and some are obviously alternate spellings of the same word, all are established descriptors for groups of bees.
an apian of bees
an apiary of bees
a bike of bees
a butt of bees
a cast of bees
a chit of bees
a colony of bees
a community of bees
a cote of bees
an erst of bees
a flight of bees
a grist of bees
a hive of bees
a multitude of bees
a nest of bees
a neast of bees
a play of bees
a smart of bees
a spew of bees
a spindle of bees
a swarm of bees
a swarme of bees
Good followers, how many of these are familiar to you? Which are unfamiliar? What new collective noun would you suggest for bees? For groups of readers? For groups of writers?
My thanks go out to this week’s sources: the OED, Wordnik, Etymonline. Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms (Gale Group 2008) & A Gaggle of Geese, by David W. K. Godrich, fifth edition, 2011.
I write for teens, narrate audio books, bake bread, play music, and ponder the wonder of words in a foggy little town on California's central coast.
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