Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cassy’s Corner- Collective Nouns

Yes, I know discussing nouns sounds totally boring. But, we are readers and writers. Nouns are part of our lives. I have a very favorite book that you may know: An Exaltation of Larks by James Lipton. It was originally published in 1968 and has a number of reprints. I recently pulled my well-worn copy off the shelf and began to yet again flip the pages. It’s the type of book you don’t need to read front to back- only have fun as you peruse.
The entire premise of the book is to list collective nouns by categories, such as animals, home and family, or romance and raunch. Most of the expressions are accurate (gaggle of geese), while there are others that I wonder about their origin (a score of bachelors). Nevertheless it is a delight to flip the pages
Here are some examples from Lipton’s collection. Please add your own to the list. We can have fun with this!

A pack of dogs, but a litter of puppies
Isn’t it interesting how the collective noun can change based on the age of the animal?
Staying with the animals:
A herd of horses, but a string of ponies
A brood of hens, but a run of poultry

On another theme:
A bench of judges
A board of trustees
A posse of vigilantes

And then he also gets silly:
A rendering of architects
A flush of plumbers
A sesame of locksmiths
An aroma of bakers
A ring of jewelers
A lot of realtors

I do recommend this funny and lovely book if you wish to laugh, learn and live with nouns. But, I need to warn you. Many who share your house might not find the game as fun as we. My husband is threatening to hide the book when my back is turned. It comes off the shelf every few years and he groans each time. Quoting the Oxford English Dictionary, he pleads that he can only handle one wife and not a bevy of ladies.

What can you add to this crazy list- invented or not?


Anita Clenney said...

This is the first time I've heard about this book. How cute. And informative. All this stuff is hard to keep up with. I asked Austin a question the other day; something to do with this. I can't remember what it was now, but it was something to do with a herd, I think.

Now it's going to make me crazy trying to remember what it was I couldn't remember.

Cassy Pickard said...

Anita: Join the club in the "I can't remember" group! It is a fun book, and informative. My husband just wishes I'd forget where I put it and stop laughing as I share "a premise of logicians" or "a pound of pianists".