What do you call a group of…
Did you know that there are collective nouns for many different groups of animals? Some you may well be familiar with (such as a litter of kittens or a pride of lions). Others are used less often, but would still be recognized by many people; in this category fall a gaggle of geese and a murder of crows. And then there are those words which you probably haven’t heard – did you know about a crash of rhinoceros, or a descent of woodpeckers?
Many of the these words belong to 15th-century lists of ‘proper terms’, such as those in the Book of St Albans attributed to Dame Juliana Barnes (1486). Some are fanciful or humorous terms which probably never had any real currency, but have been taken up by antiquarian writers, notably Joseph Strutt in Sports and Pastimes of England (1801). You can find more information about who decides on the right collective noun for something in an excerpt from What Made the Crocodile Cry? by Susie Dent.
Read the full list of group terms here, or look at our favourites below.
A group of cats is called a glaring.
A group of chickens is also known as a peep.
A group of crocodiles can also be referred to as a bask.
A group of leopards is known as a leap.
Many monkeys are a troop.
Muster is the correct collective noun for a group of peacocks.
A group of toads is referred to as a knot.
A group of zebras is a zeal.
A group of buffalo can be called an obstinacy.
A group of jellyfish is also called a smack.