Saturday 25 November 2017

Wisdom Of Wombats

I know next to nothing about wombats- but I remember Fatso The Wombat from Country Practice, the Soap from Oz, that I watched in the 1980s when I was feeding my babies! He was singular- but I recently learned that the collective noun for a group is a wisdom of wombats. A recent crossword in the Guardian featured collective nouns as its theme, and this sent me off into a bit of research. The original name was terms of venery, and it referred to animals [venery is an old word for hunting] I recognised many of these words as still in general use; a herd of cows, a swarm of bees, a flock of sheep, a pride of lions, a pod of whales, a shoal/school of fish
Others are less common, but you still hear them from time to time; a colony of beavers, a murder of crows, a gaggle of geese [on land] but a skein [in flight], a litter of kittens/puppies, a barrel of monkeys, a knot of toads, a parliament of owls, 
But some were new to me. I love these ones
  • a prettying of doves
  • a busyness of ferrets
  • a charm of goldfinch
  • a deceit of lapwings
  • a congregation of plovers
  • a nursery of raccoons
  • an unkindness of ravens
  • a tok of capercaillie
  • a kettle of vultures
  • a fluther of jellyfish
You can find comprehensive lists here, here and here - and some modern jokey ones here, here and here
Do you have any favourites - traditional, or modern - and has your family made up any of their own? 
How about a blethering of bloggers?
[blether defined here]


  1. I have never heard a collective name for rabbits.

  2. When I was training for ministry we had a competition for a collective noun for ministers. The winner was a muesli of ministers. Slightly nutty, full of fibre, and keeps you on the move.

  3. I first saw a wombat in Australia, and thought what a delightfully funny creature it was!
    I like a 'charm of goldfinch', and we have around 12 at any time feeding. So lovely.

  4. How timely! I just recently had a very bemused husband in Asda after I asked him for a hand of bananas. He gave me a very funny look and muttered something about "b****y Stephen fry" and "b****y QI" I'll show him this post in a minute lol

  5. Oh not bletherng- that's mildly pejorative here! There must be something cosier for bloggers!

  6. I like the muesli of ministers!


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