14 Funny & Weird Collective Nouns from the English Language

When you work with Google all day, you tend to stumble upon some funny queries that people search for.

It happened to me yesterday, when Google Suggest churned out: “my butler disappeared”.

Turns out, the term is related to disappearing butlers in The Sims 3.

Out of context, words and phrases can be weird. And our love for the English language here recently took me and our graphic designer down the road of collective nouns.

We thought we’d create this funny list for you and bring them to life with illustrations … for no real reason other than to make you smile at the end of a hard week.

Did you know the collective noun for butlers is a ‘sneer of butlers’? Harsh.

See if you like them and share your personal favourites in the comments (if our designer gets the time, she might just create a new illustration for you):

A Bike of Bees

Collective Noun for Bees - A Bike of Bees

Collective Noun for Bees – A Bike of Bees

It’s amusing to imagine a swarm of bees flying in bicycle formation, but the real reason this is a collective noun for bees is because the word “bike” is an old English word which means a colony, nest, or swarm.

Source: http://web.archive.org/web/20060616031658/http://www.askoxford.com/asktheexperts/collective/h/?view=uk

A Family of Sardines

 
Collective Noun for Sardines is a Family of Sardines

Collective Noun for Sardines is a Family of Sardines

We love this one because it calls to mind images of a nuclear family of small fish. We’re not sure of the origin of this collective noun (though we think it could be related to the tin-can they end up in!).

Source: http://www.dw.com/en/what-do-you-call-a-group-of-sardines/a-18250945

A Glaring of Cats

 
One of the Collective Nouns for Cats is a Glaring of Cats

One of the Collective Nouns for Cats is a Glaring of Cats

The definition of glaring is “having a fixed look of hostility, fierceness, or anger”, which accurately describes how my cat looks at me pretty much all of the time. We can see why this collective noun was chosen for cats!

Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/glaring

A Rhumba of Rattlesnakes

 
Collective Noun for Rattlesnakes is a Rhumba of Rattlesnakes

Collective Noun for Rattlesnakes is a Rhumba of Rattlesnakes

If you’ve ever seen two male rattlesnakes fighting in competition for dominance of a female, you’ll understand why a “rhumba” has been used as the collective noun for this venomous reptile. There’s a lot of slow, deliberate weaving followed by quick, sharp movements that closely resemble the slow-quick-quick pattern of the American Rhumba dance.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8rQO-9J5Zg; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhumba
GIF: https://j.gifs.com/kR2W16.gif

A Mess of Iguanas

A Mess of Iguanas - Collective Nouns

To understand why a group of iguanas is called a “mess”, you just need to look. In the wild, iguanas lie intertwined in large groups and it can be difficult to see where one iguana ends and another begins. The reason for this is that iguanas are cold-blooded so they regulate their body temperature by basking in the sun.

An Army of Caterpillars

An Army of Catapillars

This collective noun likely describes the behaviours exhibited by caterpillars when they travel in large groups. What’s great about these armies of caterpillars is that they’re incredibly well organised. They participate in cooperative foraging for food, group defence against predators, shelter building & thermoregulation.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_caterpillars#Substrate_silking_to_facilitate_steadfastness

A Nest of Rumours

 

collective noun- a nest of rumours

A nest of rumours is the only collective noun on this list that’s not related to animals. We love this one because it evokes the image of a hidey-hole where scandalous information is being amassed – undoubtedly for later use.

Source: http://users.tinyonline.co.uk/gswithenbank/collnoun.htm

A Gang of Elks

A Gang of Elk

Yes, a group of elk is called a gang. Yes, the elk in the image above are carrying guns and sporting bandanas. Groups of elk may have been labelled as gangs because elk bulls do something called ‘bugling’ – loud screaming which can be heard for miles and miles. What a bunch of thugs!

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elk#Behavior

A Huddle of Walruses

A Huddle of Walruses

A group of walruses can also be called a ‘herd’ or a ‘pod’, but we like ‘huddle’ best. Walruses are most often found sunbathing on land or sea ice with hundreds of their companions. Walruses are very sociable creatures and even amass in their thousands in mating season. What’s also interesting is that these huddles are often segregated by gender –males have their own huddles and females have their own huddles.

Source: http://www.livescience.com/27442-walrus-facts.html

A Bed of Clams

A Bed of Clams

A group of clams is known collectively as a ‘bed’ of clams. This collective noun conjured up an image of hundreds of clams cosily sleeping side-by-side. ‘A bed of’ can also be used to describe a group of snakes, oysters or flowers.

Source: http://users.tinyonline.co.uk/gswithenbank/collnoun.htm

A Shiver of Sharks

sharks

One of our favourite collective nouns on the list is the name for a group of sharks – a ‘shiver’. We think it could be suggestive of what happens to a person who stumbles across a group of sharks while out swimming. Or it could relate to the fact that most sharks are cold-blooded.

Source: http://users.tinyonline.co.uk/gswithenbank/collnoun.htm

A Crash of Rhinoceroses

A crash of Rhinoceroses

One of the best and most well-known of all collective nouns is a ‘crash’ of rhinoceroses. Rhinos gather on the African grassy plains in groups of up to twelve. However, the collective noun was most likely inspired by the rhino’s tendency to charge at anything unfamiliar, although fights between rhinos are rare because male rhinos (or bulls) tend to avoid each other unless they are competing for the same female.

Source: http://animals.howstuffworks.com/mammals/rhinos-charge.htm; http://www.africa-wildlife-detective.com/black-rhino.html

A Horde of Hamsters

A horde of hamsters

What makes this collective noun so hilarious is that it conjures up images of an army or tribe of primitive warriors. We’d be far more likely to relate a ‘horde’ of something with a group of zombies, goblins or orcs – not a group of small, fluffy rodents!

Source: http://users.tinyonline.co.uk/gswithenbank/collnoun.htm

A Kindle of Kittens

A kindle of kittens

The collective noun for a group of kittens is known as a kindle. It relates to the verb to kindle which means ‘to give birth to young’. But we thought it would be fun anyway to visualise a group of kittens climbing out of an e-reader.

Source: http://users.tinyonline.co.uk/gswithenbank/collnoun.htm

Collective Nouns List

Want more collective nouns? Here’s a list of collective nouns for every animal we could find…

Animal Collective Noun In It’s Written Context
A    
Aardvark armoury an armoury of aardvark
Albatrosses flock a flock of albatrosses
Albatrosses rookery a rookery of albatrosses
Albatrosses gam a gam of albatrosses
Alligators congregation a congregation of alligators
Alpacas herd a herd of alpaca
Ants army an army of ants
Ants bike a bike of ants
Ants colony a colony of ants
Ants nest a nest of ants
Ants swarm a swarm of ants
Anteaters candle a candle of anteaters
Antelope herd a herd of antelope
Antelope cluster a cluster of antelope
Antelope tribe a tribe of antelope
Apes shrewdness a shrewdness of apes
Apes troop a troop of apes
Armadillos roll a roll of armadillos
B    
Baboons flange a flange of baboons
Baboons troop a troop of baboons
Badgers cete a cete of badgers
Badgers colony a colony of badgers
Barracudas school a school of barracudas
Bats cloud a cloud of bats
Bats colony a colony of bats
Bats flock a flock of bats
Bears sleuth a sleuth of bears
Bears sloth a sloth of bears
Beavers family a family of beavers
Beavers colony a colony of beavers
Bees bike a bike of bees
Bees cast a cast of bees
Bees cluster a cluster of bees
Bees colony a colony of bees
Bees drift a drift of bees
Bees erst an erst of bees
Bees grist a grist of bees
Bees hive a hive of bees
Bees nest a nest of bees
Bees rabble a rabble of bees
Bees stand a stand of bees
Bees swarm a swarm of bees
Birds (generic) flock a flock of birds (generic)
Bison herd a herd of bison
Boar herd a herd of boar
Boar sounder a sounder of boar
Buffalo herd a herd of buffalo
Buffalo troop a troop of buffalo
Buffalo gang a gang of buffalo
Buffalo obstinancy an obstinancy of buffalo
Butterflies flight a flight of butterflies
Butterflies flutter a flutter of butterflies
Butterflies rabble a rabble of butterflies
C    
Camels caravan a caravan of camels
Camels flock a flock of camels
Camels herd a herd of camels
Camels train a train of camels
Caribou herd a herd of caribou
Cassowary dash a dash of cassowary
Cats clowder a clowder of cats
Cats cluster a cluster of cats
Cats clutter a clutter of cats
Cats glaring a glaring of cats
Cats pounce a pounce of cats
Kittens kindle a kindle of kittens
Kittens litter a litter of kittens
Caterpillar army an army of caterpillar
Cattle herd a herd of cattle
Cattle drove a drove of cattle
Cattle yoke a yoke of cattle
Cattle team a team of cattle
Chamois herd a herd of chamois
Cheetahs coalition a coalition of cheetahs
Chickens flock a flock of chickens
Chickens brood a brood of chickens
Chickens peep a peep of chickens
Chickens clutch a clutch of chickens
Chinchillas colony a colony of chinchillas
Choughs chattering a chattering of choughs
Choughs clattering a clattering of choughs
Clams bed a bed of clams
Coatis troop a troop of coatis
Cobras quiver a quiver of cobras
Cockroaches intrusion an intrusion of cockroaches
Cod school a school of cod
Cormorants gulp a gulp of cormorants
Cormorants flight a flight of cormorants
Coyotes pack a pack of coyotes
Crabs cast a cast of crabs
Cranes herd a herd of cranes
Cranes sedge a sedge of cranes
Cranes sege a sege of cranes
Cranes siege a siege of cranes
Crocodiles bask a bask of crocodiles
Crocodiles congregation a congregation of crocodiles
Crocodiles float a float of crocodiles
Crocodiles nest a nest of crocodiles
Crow murder a murder of crow
Curlew herd a herd of curlew
D    
Deer bunch a bunch of deer
Deer herd a herd of deer
Deer mob a mob of deer
Deer rangale a rangale of deer
Dinosaurs herd a herd of dinosaurs
Dinosaurs pack a pack of dinosaurs
Dogs (wild) pack a pack  of dogs (wild)
Dogs kennel a kennel of dogs
Dogs mute a mute of dogs
Dogs (young) litter a litter of dogs (young)
Dogs (curs) cowardice a cowardice of dogs (curs)
Dogs (boxers) comedy a comedy of dogs (boxers)
Dogs (hounds) cry a cry of dogs (hounds)
Dogfish troop a troop of dogfish
Dolphins school a school of dolphins
Dolphins pod a pod of dolphins
Dolphins herd a herd of dolphins
Dolphins team a team of dolphins
Donkeys herd a herd of donkeys
Donkeys coffle a coffle of donkeys
Donkeys drove a drove of donkeys
Donkeys pace a pace of donkeys
Dotterels trip a trip of dotterels
Doves arc an arc of doves
Doves cote a cote of doves
Doves dole a dole of doves
Doves dule a dule of doves
Doves flight a flight of doves
Doves piteousness a piteousness of doves
Doves pitying a pitying of doves
Dragonflies cluster a cluster of dragonflies
Dragonflies flight a flight of dragonflies
Ducks (or Mallards) flock a flock of ducks (or mallards)
Ducks (or Mallards) herd a herd of ducks (or mallards)
Ducks (or Mallards) badling a badling of ducks (or mallards)
Ducks (or Mallards) brace a brace of ducks (or mallards)
Ducks (or Mallards) safe a safe of ducks (or mallards)
Ducks (or Mallards) sord a sord of ducks (or mallards)
Ducks (or Mallards) sore a sore of ducks (or mallards)
Ducks (or Mallards) waddling a waddling of ducks (or mallards)
Ducks (or Mallards) bunch a bunch of ducks (or mallards)
Ducks (or Mallards) paddling a paddling of ducks (or mallards)
Ducks (or Mallards) raft a raft of ducks (or mallards)
Ducks (or Mallards) skein a skein of ducks (or mallards)
Ducks (or Mallards) string a string of ducks (or mallards)
Ducks (or Mallards) team a team of ducks (or mallards)
Ducks (or Mallards) herd a herd of ducks (or mallards)
Dugongs fling a fling of dugongs
E    
Eagles convocation a convocation of eagles
Echidnas train a train of echidnas
Eels bed a bed of eels
Eels swarm a swarm of eels
Elands herd a herd of elands
Elephants herd a herd of elephants
Elephants memory a memory of elephants
Elephant seals herd a herd of elephant seals
Elephant seals pack a pack of elephant seals
Elk gang a gang of elk
Elk herd a herd of elk
Emus mob a mob of emus
F    
Falcons cast a cast of falcons
Ferrets busyness a busyness of ferrets
Ferrets business a business of ferrets
Finches charm a charm of finches
Fish school a school of fish
Flamingos stand a stand of flamingos
Flies business a business of flies
Flies cloud a cloud of flies
Flies swarm a swarm of flies
Foxes leash a leash of foxes
Foxes skulk a skulk of foxes
Frogs army an army of frogs
G    
Gaurs herd a herd of gaurs
Gazelle herd a herd of gazelle
Gerbils horde a horde of gerbils
Giant pandas sleuth a sleuth of giant pandas
Giraffes herd a herd of giraffes
Giraffes corps a corps of giraffes
Giraffes tower a tower of giraffes
Gnats cloud a cloud of gnats
Gnats horde a horde of gnats
Gnats rabble a rabble of gnats
Gnats swarm a swarm of gnats
Gnus herd a herd of gnus
Gnus implausibility an implausibility of gnus
Goats herd a herd of goats
Goats flock a flock of goats
Goats tribe a tribe of goats
Goats trip a trip of goats
Goats trippe a trippe of goats
Goldfinches charm a charm of goldfinches
Goosanders dopping a dopping of goosanders
Geese flock a flock of geese
Geese gaggle a gaggle of geese
Geese plump a plump of geese
Geese skein a skein of geese
Geese team a team of geese
Geese wedge a wedge of geese
Gorillas band a band of gorillas
Gorillas troop a troop of gorillas
Gorillas whoop a whoop of gorillas
Goshawks flight a flight of goshawks
Grasshoppers cloud a cloud of grasshoppers
Grasshoppers swarm a swarm of grasshoppers
Grouse covey a covey of grouse
Grouse pack a pack of grouse
Guanacos herd a herd of guanacos
Guinea fowl rasp a rasp of guinea fowl
Guinea fowl flock a flock of guinea fowl
Guinea pigs herd a herd of guinea pigs
Gulls colony a colony of gulls
Gulls flock a flock of gulls
H    
Hamsters horde a horde of hamsters
Hares band a band of hares
Hares down a down of hares
Hares drove a drove of hares
Hares flick a flick of hares
Hares husk a husk of hares
Hawks cast a cast of hawks
Hawks aerie an aerie of hawks
Hawks staff a staff of hawks
Hawks leash a leash of hawks
Hawks flight a flight of hawks
Hawks flock a flock of hawks
Hawks Migrating in large groups a migrating in large groups of hawks
Hawks kettle a kettle of hawks
Hawks boil a boil of hawks
Hawks cauldron a cauldron of hawks
Hedgehogs array an array of hedgehogs
Herons flight a flight of herons
Herons sedge a sedge of herons
Herons sege a sege of herons
Herons siege a siege of herons
Herring army an army of herring
Herring glean a glean of herring
Herring shoal a shoal of herring
Hippopotami bloat a bloat of hippopotami
Hippopotami herd a herd of hippopotami
Hippopotami thunder a thunder of hippopotami
Hornets bike a bike of hornets
Hornets nest a nest of hornets
Hornets swarm a swarm of hornets
Horses stable a stable of horses
Horses stud a stud of horses
Horses harras a harras of horses
Horses (wild horses) herd a herd of horses (wild horses)
Horses (wild horses) band a band of horses (wild horses)
Horses (work horses) team a team  of horses (work horses)
Horses (colts) rag a rag  of horses (colts)
Horses (ponies) string a string  of horses (ponies)
Horses (racehorses) field a field  of horses (racehorses)
Hummingbirds charm a charm of hummingbirds
Hyenas cackle a cackle of hyenas
I    
Iguanas mess a mess of iguanas
J    
Jackals pack a pack of jackals
Jaguars prowl a prowl of jaguars
Jaguars leap a leap of jaguars
Jays band a band of jays
Jays party a party of jays
Jays scold a scold of jays
Jellyfish bloom a bloom of jellyfish
Jellyfish brood a brood of jellyfish
Jellyfish fluther a fluther of jellyfish
Jellyfish smack a smack of jellyfish
Jellyfish smuth a smuth of jellyfish
K    
Kangaroos court a court of kangaroos
Kangaroos herd a herd of kangaroos
Kangaroos troop a troop of kangaroos
Kangaroos mob a mob of kangaroos
Kinkajous troop a troop of kinkajous
Kinkajous convergence a convergence of kinkajous
Komodo dragons bank a bank of komodo dragons
Koupreys herd a herd of koupreys
Kudus herd a herd of kudus
L    
Lapwings deceit a deceit of lapwings
Lapwings desert a desert of lapwings
Larks exaltation an exaltation of larks
Lemurs conspiracy a conspiracy of lemurs
Leopards leap a leap of leopards
Leopards lepe a lepe of leopards
Lions pride a pride of lions
Lions sawt a sawt of lions
Llamas herd a herd of llamas
Llamas flock a flock of llamas
Lobsters risk a risk of lobsters
Locusts cloud a cloud of locusts
Locusts host a host of locusts
Locusts swarm a swarm of locusts
Lorises colony a colony of lorises
Lice colony a colony of lice
M    
Magpies flock a flock of magpies
Mallards sord a sord of mallards
Mallards suit a suit of mallards
Mammoths herd a herd of mammoths
Mammoths pack a pack of mammoths
Manatees herd a herd of manatees
Mandrills horde a horde of mandrills
Mink richness a richness of mink
Mole company a company of mole
Mongooses troop a troop of mongooses
Mongooses committee a committee of mongooses
Mongooses delegation a delegation of mongooses
Monkeys troop a troop of monkeys
Moose herd a herd of moose
Mice colony a colony of mice
Mice nest a nest of mice
Mosquitoes swarm a swarm of mosquitoes
Mosquitoes cloud a cloud of mosquitoes
N    
Narwhal blessing a blessing of narwhal
Nightingales flock a flock of nightingales
O    
Octopus consortium a consortium of octopi
Okapis herd a herd of okapis
Opossums passel a passel of opossums
Ostriches flock a flock of ostriches
Ostriches troop a troop of ostriches
Otters romp a romp of otters
Otters bevy a bevy of otters
Otters family a family of otters
Otters raft a raft of otters
Owls parliament a parliament of owls
Oysters bed a bed of oysters
P    
Panthers claw a claw of panthers
Parrots flock a flock of parrots
Partridges covey a covey of partridges
Pelicans pod a pod of pelicans
Penguins (on land) waddle a waddle of penguins (on land)
Penguins (in water) raft a raft of penguins (in water)
Penguins rookery a rookery of penguins
Penguins colony a colony of penguins
Penguins huddle a huddle of penguins
Pheasants flock a flock of pheasants
Pheasants bouquet a bouquet of pheasants
Pheasants nest a nest of pheasants
Pheasants nide a nide of pheasants
Pheasants nye a nye of pheasants
Pigs drift a drift of pigs
Pigs drove a drove of pigs
Piglets litter a litter of piglets
Pigeons flock a flock of pigeons
Pigeons flight a flight of pigeons
Pigeons kit a kit of pigeons
Polar bears aurora an aurora of polar bears
Polar bears celebration a celebration of polar bears
Polar bears pack a pack of polar bears
Porcupines prickle a prickle of porcupines
Porpoises pod a pod of porpoises
Porpoises school a school of porpoises
Porpoises shoal a shoal of porpoises
Prairie dogs town a town of prairie dogs
Q    
Quails bevy a bevy of quails
Quelea flock a flock of quelea
Quetzals flock a flock of quetzals
R    
Rabbits nest a nest of rabbits
Rabbits (young) litter a litter of rabbits (young)
Rabbits (young) wrack a wrack of rabbits (young)
Raccoons gaze a gaze of raccoons
Raccoons nursery a nursery of raccoons
Raccoons committee a committee of raccoons
Raccoons smack a smack of raccoons
Raccoons brace a brace of raccoons
Raccoons troop a troop of raccoons
Rams flock a flock of rams
Rats colony a colony of rats
Rats horde a horde of rats
Rats mischief a mischief of rats
Rattlesnakes rhumba a rhumba of rattlesnakes
Ravens unkindness an unkindness of ravens
Red deer herd a herd of red deer
Red pandas pack a pack of red pandas
Reindeer (caribou) herd a herd of reindeer (caribou)
Rhinoceroses herd a herd of rhinoceroses
Rhinoceroses crash a crash of rhinoceroses
Rooks building a building of rooks
Rooks parliament a parliament of rooks
Rumours nest a nest of rumours
S    
Salamanders band a band of salamanders
Salmon bind a bind of salmon
Salmon leap a leap of salmon
Salmon run a run of salmon
Salmon draught a draught of salmon
Sandpipers fling a fling of sandpipers
Sardines family a family  of sardines
Sea lions pod a pod of sea lions
Seahorses shoal a shoal of seahorses
Seals herd a herd of seals
Seals pod a pod of seals
Seals rookery a rookery of seals
Sharks shiver a shiver of sharks
Sheep flock a flock of sheep
Sheep fold a fold of sheep
Sheep herd a herd of sheep
Shrews colony a colony of shrews
Shrews drove a drove of shrews
Skunks surfeit a surfeit of skunks
Sloths bed a bed of sloths
Snails escargatoire an escargatoire of snails
Snails rout a rout of snails
Snails walk a walk of snails
Snakes nest a nest of snakes
Snakes ball a ball of snakes
Spiders cluster a cluster of spiders
Spiders clutter a clutter of spiders
Squirrels scurry a scurry of squirrels
Squirrels dray a dray of squirrels
Starlings chattering a chattering of starlings
Starlings murmuration a murmuration of starlings
Swans flock lamentation a flock lamentation of swans
T    
Tapir herd a herd of tapir
Tarsiers herd a herd of tarsiers
Termites colony a colony of termites
Termites nest a nest of termites
Termites swarm a swarm of termites
Tigers ambush an ambush of tigers
Tigers streak a streak of tigers
Toads knot a knot of toads
Turkeys rafter a rafter of turkeys
Turtles bale a bale of turtles
V    
Vicuñas posse a posse of vicuñas
Vicuñas herd a herd of vicuñas
W    
Wallabies mob a mob of wallabies
Walruses huddle a huddle of walruses
Walruses herd a herd of walruses
Walruses flock a flock of walruses
Wasps swarm a swarm of wasps
Wasps hive a hive of wasps
Wasps colony a colony of wasps
Wasps nest a nest of wasps
Water buffalo herd a herd of water buffalo
Weasels gang a gang of weasels
Weasels sneak a sneak of weasels
Whales pod a pod of whales
Whales school a school of whales
Wolves pack a pack of wolves
Wolverines pack a pack of wolverines
Wombats peregrine a peregrine of wombats
Wrens herd a herd of wrens
Y    
Yaks herd a herd of yaks
Z    
Zebras herd a herd of zebras
Zebras cohort a cohort of zebras
Zebras dazzle a dazzle  of zebras
Zebras zeal a zeal of zebras
August 25, 2016|

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Edward.Turner

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