Terms of Venery II

veneryIn August 2010, I published a post on terms of venery, or collective nouns, such as “a pride of lions.” Author James Lipton had previously revived the fading art of venery with the 1968 publication of his book, An Exaltation of Larks, and my family has since fancied venery as a game.

The original post garnered some generous attention from word lovers over the last sixteen months, resulting in gifts from contributors known and unknown.

Given the season, it seems timely to follow through as I originally indicated, with an updated list of terms submitted by readers — and an invitation to continue tossing your gems this way. Perhaps a more comprehensive list will encourage Mr. Lipton’s enthusiasm for a new edition of his fabulous book. ...

Take a look at the collected results of our effort to date, below, and add your creations in the comments.


An astonishment of great blue herons

Karen Cunagin

A flirt of butterflies


A gluttony of pigs

Hunt Gressitt

A burst of pimples A pile of hemorrhoids A smear of politicians A line of writers A pool of swimmers A host of guests An army of Marines (sorry, Steve) A ruck of sacks A gross of emesis An assemblage of builders A clique of noises A gang of planks A litter of gurneys A Mound of candy bars A class of elitists A clutch of purses A hunk of actors A deficiency of imbeciles A ball of dancers A mope of melancholics A clump of chumps A slew of pitchers A jack of asses

K-B Gressitt

A starburst of generals An orgy of envy A mass of bishops An ecstasy of miracles A scandal of penises A smooch of teens A swoon of romantics An illiteracy of dunces A bangle of bracelets A fury of revenge A gorging of gifts A pomposity of the elite A caterwaul of cats An instigation of idiocies A demagoguery of fundamentalists A ridicule of reviewers A slam of critics A syncophancy of fans An orient of sexualities An assault of slurs

Scott Gressitt

An inkling of writers A splinter of woodworkers A kitchen of cabinetmakers A smarm of salesman A dash of gentlemen A disobeyanse of sons A duty of friends A sparkle of dental techs A smear of pap testers A collage of artists A noise of politicians A shard of glassblowers A cuteness of babies A whine of children An arrogance of lawyers A knock of sheriffs A ring of Avon ladies A puke of partiers A skin of nudists A spray of hairdressers A broom of street cleaners A slew of hunting terms A stretch of limos A blare of fire trucks A smidgeon of cooks A trifle of young lovers A heartbreak of teenagers A flake of psoriasis patients A powder of coke dealers A line of coke dealers A snort of coke dealers A breath of dentists A look of models An act of thespians A shiver of ice fisherman A recovery of alcoholics A screech of driving instructors A whistle of traffic cops A flap of hang gliders A whisper of nuns A murmur of taxpayers An arrangement of florists A setting of authors A demeanor of judges A beg of defendants A denial of addicts A cross of transvestites A short of cash A stack of tellers A plot of writers An axe of executioners A superfluity of venerists

Kevin Langley

A pack of idiots

Dick Matheron and Bill Toone

A battery of Priii (from Toyota)


A chatter of wives A brilliance of word wonks A volume of wordsmiths A vanity of wags


A coven of crones

And, a merriment of mullings to you all!

Love, K-B