Weird collective nouns

English is full of curious names for groups of animals. In The Story of English in 100 Words David Crystal talks about these words he lists some of them. I have added some more from Wikipedia:

A bellowing of bullfinches

A business of ferrets

A cackle of hyenas

A charm of goldfinches

A congregation of  alligators

A convocation of eagles    

A lamentation of swans

A mess of iguanas

A muster of peacocks

A pandemonium of parrots

A parliament of rooks

A piteousness of doves

A scourge of mosquitoes

A tittering of magpies

An unkindness of ravens,

A watch of nightingales

They go well beyond animals. Here are a few not related to the animal kingdom:

A diligence of messengers

A doctrine of doctors

A file of civil servants         

A hastiness of cooks

An observance of hermits

A non-patience of wives

A prudence of vicars

A sentence of judges

A superfluity of nuns

Crystal also produced a list of his favourite humorous ones:

An absence of waiters

An annoyance of mobile phones

A bond of British secret agents.

A bout of estimates

A clutch of car mechanics

A crash of software

A depression of weather forecasters

An exces’s of apostrophes

A lot of auctioneers

A mass of priests

A rash of dermatologists

A shoulder of agony aunts

A vat of chancellors (of the Exchequer)

A whored of prostitutes


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