Beyond the Rhetoric

 
 
 

Grammar 101: What Do You Call a Group of… ?

December 4th, 2012 by
10 Flares 10 Flares ×

Colony of Giant Bats

The word “group” can be used quite generally to refer to a number of similar things all placed together, but there are countless specific terms that apply to specific groups. If you have many people who gather at the same church, you might refer to that group of people as a congregation. If you are talking about all the vehicles that a car rental company may have, you might talk about the fleet of vehicles. Several military aircraft who fly together may be called a squadron.

A Colony of Bats

And the same kind of thing applies to the animal kingdom too, both domestic and in the wild. For example, what you see at the top of this post is the colony of bats (or bat colony, if you prefer) I encountered in Australia. They’re not a herd of bats, a pack of bats or a flock of bats. Technically speaking, those were giant flying foxes, though I’m not sure if the terms for a group of foxes–a leash, a skulk or an earth–would be appropriate here either.

There are certain “group” terms for animals that have become fairly common knowledge. Most people will know about a pride of lions and a swarm of bees, but there are many other terms that aren’t quite as common, even if the animals themselves are reasonably common. Do you know what to call a group of cats? How about a group of turkeys or a group of turtles? It’s always best if you can use the correct term, so while the following list is far from comprehensive, it does contain some of the animal group terms that I thought were particularly unique or interesting.

Animal Group Names

  • A shrewdness of apes
  • A wake of buzzards
  • A clowder of cats (also a pounce)
  • A bed of clams
  • An intrusion of cockroaches
  • A bask of crocodiles
  • A murder of crows
  • A convocation of eagles
  • A business of ferrets
  • An army of frogs
  • A tower of giraffes
  • A band of gorillas
  • A cloud of grasshoppers
  • A down of hares (or a husk)
  • A sedge of herons
  • A bloat of hippopotamuses
  • A party of jays (or a scold)
  • A smack of jellyfish
  • A mob of kangaroos (or a troop)
  • A kindle of kittens (also a litter or an intrigue)
  • An exaltation of larks
  • A plague of locusts
  • A richness of martens
  • A barrel of monkeys (or a troop)
  • A barren of mules (also a pack or span)
  • A parliament of owls
  • A crash of rhinos
  • A shiver of sharks
  • A walk of snails
  • A scurry of squirrels (or a dray)
  • A streak of tigers
  • A hover of trout
  • A rafter of turkeys (or a gang)
  • A bale of turtles (or a nest)
  • A sounder of warthogs
  • A descent of woodpeckers

Is there a specific animal group I missed that you would like named? Let me know through the comments below and I’ll endeavor to find the answer for you.

  Category: Freelance Writing   Tags: , ,

Related Reading:

Michael Kwan Freelance Writer

4 Responses to “Grammar 101: What Do You Call a Group of… ?”

  1. Zagorath says:

    I really get the impression that a lot of these were literally just made up by someone for the sake of making them up.

    Personally my favourite is an army of ants (or a colony), or a cluster of spiders.

    • Michael Kwan says:

      That’s probably true, but I suppose that’s true of all scientific terms. Someone comes up with them for some reason or another and they just come to be accepted as the official term.

  2. betshopboy says:

    Interesting of you to do a post on collective nouns, how about a group of bloggers or freelancers? What is the collective term for this group of people?

    • Michael Kwan says:

      I don’t think there is an official term. If they’re working together, they could be called a team, I suppose. People have used “blogerati” to refer to the class of higher-tier bloggers, but that’s hardly official.

      Interestingly, there’s a post on PRdaily.com that discusses this topic. Some of the suggestions for a group of writers include a scribble, a sentence or a context. I like the suggestion of a chatter of writers, myself.

Leave a Reply

10 Flares Google+ 2 Twitter 1 Facebook 4 Pin It Share 3 LinkedIn 0 Email -- 10 Flares ×