Why don’t we just call a group of things, well, a Group? Or a collection of things? A bunch of things may be?
In English language quite interestingly, whenever people, animals or things are put together in a group, the group is given a special name. Have you heard of the word collective? It means collect together, to be put together in a group. This name given to the group is a collective noun. You would assume that the name given to the group will be related to the group in some way, but the special terms coined for groups are totally unrelated and sometimes even funny. Read this:
A group of owls is called ‘a parliament of owls’. You must have heard about parliament of ministers, but parliament of owls! Guess parliament of wise owls gathers to frame some rules. ;)
A group of crows is called ‘a murder of crows’. MURDER! If all crows in a group are murdered, then how does a group even exists. Ha!
A group of mosquitoes is ‘a scourge of mosquitoes’. Scourge means ‘a whip used as an instrument of punishment.’. A group of mosquitoes coming towards you is indeed a punishment ;) Isn’t it? No wonder the name!
A group of bishops is ‘a bench of bishops’.
There are some common group names as well that you must have surely heard. Like have you heard of herd? ;) Herd is a group name given to a large group of animals like buffaloes, cows, boars, cattle, deer, elephants, giraffes, moose and many more.
A pod is a small group of marine animals especially whales, seals, dolphins. It is also used for a group of pelicans. When a large number of fish are swimming together, they are often referred to as shoal, for example, a shoal of herrings. Other times a large group of fish or sea mammals is also called ‘school’, a school of fish.
A large or dense group of insects, especially the flying ones is called a swarm. Very common references are a swarm of bees, a swarm of locusts, a swarm of flies, a swarm of grasshoppers.
Flock is often used for a number of birds feeding, resting, or traveling together. Flock of birds, flock of seagulls, flock of pigeons etc.
There are many more group names that you must have heard some time or the other. A pride of lions, a pack of wolves, a troop of monkeys, a gaggle of geese, a brood of chicks and a zeal of zebras. The list is endless. Phew!
Can you think of some more collective nouns and tell us?