Richard G. Petty, MD

Labor Day Trivia With a Twist

The English language must be one of the oddest. Well actually I know that it is. Except perhaps for those few languages that have managed to get by with hardly any words for emotion. Or the ones that have hundreds of ways of describing snow.

In English there are more than one thousand words describing groups of things, usually animals. Many of these words go back to the Middle Ages: fun to look up on a wet English afternoon. And many have been taking up some of my precious neural storage space for a very long time.

In today’s trivia corner, the question came up as to what name is given to a group of cats? I knew that one, it’s a clowder, and if they’re kittens, it’s a kyndyll, also spelt kindle.

Then I started putting together a few others that I remembered, and looked up a couple more. If you type “Collective nouns” into Google you’ll get hundreds, but I’m not sure about some of them!

Here are a few fun ones:
Army of frogs or ants

Bale of turtles 

Band of gorillas 

Baren of mules
Bed of clams or oysters 

Bevy of quail or swans 

Brace of ducks 

Brood of chicks
Business of ferrets
Cast of hawks 

Cete of badgers 

Charm of goldfinches or hummingbirds
Chine of polecats
Cloud of gnats
Clutch of chicks
Colony of rabbits, ants, gulls and bats
Company of wigeons (they’re dabbling ducks found all over North America)

Congregation of plovers
Convocation of eagles 

Covert of coots 

Covey of quail or partridge
Cry of hounds
Down of hares 

Draft of fish (That one’s rarely used these days)
Dryft (drift) of tame swine 

Drove of cattle, sheep, pigs 
(In the Middle Ages, cows were also called kine or kyne)
Exaltation of larks 

Fall of woodcocks
Flange of baboons
Flight of birds 

Flock of sheep, geese, ducks 

Gaggle of geese 

Gam of whales 

Gang of elk 

Grist of bees
Harras of horses 

Herd of cattle, deer, elephants, horses, and sheep
Hive of bees
Horde of gnats 

Hover of trout 

Husk of hares 

Kettle of hawks
Labor of moles
Lepe or leap of leopards 

Leash of foxes 

Litter of pigs, cats, dogs 

Murder of crows 

Murmuration of starlings 

Muster of peacocks 

Mute of hounds 

Nest of rabbits, vipers, turtles and hornets
Nide, or nye of pheasants 

Pack of dogs, hounds, wolves, and mules
Parliament of rooks or owls 

Pod of dolphins, whales or seals
Pride of lions
Raft of ducks (paddling around on water) 

Rafter of turkeys 

Rag of colts
Route of wolves
School of fish (At one time they were called shoals of fish)
Scold of jays
Sculk of foxes
Sedge of cranes, bitterns, herons 
shoal of bass
Singular of boars
Shrewdness of apes 

Skein of geese (In flight)
Skulk (sculk) of foxes 

Sloth or sleuth of bears 

Sounder of wild swine or boars  

Span of mules 

Spring of teal 

Stud of mares 

Swarm of bees
Team of ducks, horses, pigs, oxen 

Tribe of goats 

Troop of kangaroos or monkeys
Unkindness of ravens

Volary of birds 

Walk of snipe 

Watch of nightingales 

Wedge of swans 

Wing of plovers 

Yoke of oxen
Zeal of zebras

There are some very funny ones that can’t be genuine. Try these:
An addition of mathematicians
A brace of orthodontists
A bunch of florists
A clutch of car mechanics
A concert of yes-men
An expense of consultants
A flash of paparazzi
An intrigue of politicians
A prickle of hedgehogs
A rash of dermatologists
A tedium of golfers

This is all harmless fun. But there’s also a slightly more serious side to it. Developing your vocabulary, even for odd words like these, appears to reduce your risk of developing age-related cognitive decline and should help keep you mentally sharp.

And I’ve got the brain scans to prove it!

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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