Collective Nouns

Bandelier National Monument (Photo by Josh Witten CC BY-NC-SA)
Bandelier National Monument (Photo by Josh Witten CC BY-NC-SA)

I’ve spent the week with a bunch of talented wordsmiths in Santa Fe. Among many discoveries, we learned that the terms used to describe groups of creatures can be wonderfully imaginative (eg, unkindness of ravens, murder of crows, etc); but they can also be dull.

We improved them:

OLD: A flight of dragons (also, weyr or wing).
NEW: A blaze of dragons.
Alternate: An ohshit! of dragon(s) (1 or more dragons).

OLD: A blessing of unicorns.
NEW: A sparkle of unicorns.

We also came up with a few new ones:

A right of wrongs.

A quixote of science writers.

Any other ideas?

Author: Josh Witten

4 thoughts on “Collective Nouns”

  1. I’ll shamelessly steal one from Inspector Morse: A body of pathologists. And from when I was a management consultant, a paunch of partners.

  2. Hilarious post, Josh! Allow me to suggest a few:

    An obfuscation of politicians.
    – An ineptitude of Democrats.
    – A teratoma of House Republicans. (too much of a stretch?)
    A malignancy of bankers.
    A procrastination of writers.
    An inscrutability of social scientists.
    A fallacy of economists.

    …the possibilities are endless! I regret not having read your blog or spoken with you more during the SF writing workshop, but it was a pleasure to make your acquaintance all the same. This site is great!

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