Thursday, January 27, 2011

A group by any other name?

Chatting with artist and fellow word-lover Jane Bleakley today led to some speculation on spelling words involving groups of know, a gaggle of geese and so forth.

A little poking around led to a terrific list, published by Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources.  Not only does it give us the wonderfully obscure words for animal groups, such as a cete of badgers and a dray of squirrels, the article by Janice Welsh also tells us HOW many of these names came to be. 

Check out the article and then ponder why it is a knot of toads, but an army of frogs.

You can also check out Welsh's source, An Exaltation of Larks: The Ultimate Edition, a book written by James Lipton and published by Viking Penguin, 1991.