Collective Nouns

Collective Nouns is the term I often forget. It is the type of noun used to describe a group or collection of something, like a herd of cattle, or a flock of geese.

Several months back my son posted on his Facebook page that there was an attempted murder in front of his apartment. He got me good, because I showed up over my lunch break to make sure everything was OK. There were two crows that had landed in front of his apartment building. He had all kinds of comments from friends and family.

I saw a YouTube video of a play session of D&D at a convention with Morgan Webb, and some buys who I didn’t catch their names. One of them said that the collective nouns for dragons is a tyranny of dragons and a group of unicorns is a blessing.

The link above says it is a blaze of dragons, which sounds a bit more awesome to me.

While thinking on this post after I wrote it some other things came to me. A mine of dwarves, a feast of halflings, a cog of gnomes, or a trick of gnomes, a trick of illusionists, a parcel of postmen/messengers.

A business of ferrets. I guess that makes giant weasels big business….

Drive of dragons, that one seems odd and doesn’t trip my trigger.

Gang of thieves, is pretty standard, what would you call a group of assassins? A murder of assassins seems to fit, but that is already taken by crows.

Better yet, a conspiracy of assassins and a secret of spies.

There is also a gang of thugs, and a gang of convicts.

Glory of unicorns. Interesting.

Mess of terriers. I suppose a big enough group of terriers would indeed be a mess.

Mischief of rats. Giants rats are a lot of mischief. A mischief of wererats??

Pack of wolves.

Parliament of owls and parliament of rooks. Parliament of owlbears? What is a collection of bears? Sleuth of bears.

Pod of dolphins, whales, and seals.

Perversion of sailors.

Sounder of (wild) boar.

Stench of zombies, now that’s appropriate! Also a stagger of zombies.

Here is an interesting link on collective nouns for monsters.

Here is the list of links for the search term “collective nouns for monsters“.

I haven’t taken the time to look for anyone who has made a definitive list of collective nouns for all the monsters in say the AD&D Monster Manual, Fiend Folio, or Monster Manual 2, but it would be an interesting exercise to come up with an RPG list of collective nouns.

If anyone knows of a good, comprehensive list of collective nouns for all these creatures, I’d be interested to check it out.

[Update] – +Dyson used “clamour of harpies” for his harpy tower portion of the megadelve. March 31, 2015.

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