a loveliness of ladybirds…

—a flutter of butterflies (there were two in the general vicinity but do two flutterbys equal a flutter?)

a risk of lobsters
an intrusion of cockroaches
a mite of mites
a knot of worms
a rope of onions
a punnet of strawberries

—and because the ‘sky dance’ season is about to begin (I saw my first starlings of the year gathering in some reeds this morning)—a murmuration of starlings…


And other collective nouns because how else to describe things but properly?

Unless of course you feel like making something up. A ‘scratch’ of bedbugs? A ‘séance’ of tea leaves? A ‘warbling’ of words?


11 thoughts on “a loveliness of ladybirds…

  1. Great examples of made-up group names. How about a slump of chairs? A multiple of copy machines? A concentration of books? A rubber of erasers? A fold of handkerchiefs? A privy of outhouses? An erosion of beachglass? An attention of microphones? A strum of lutes? A litter of bottle caps? A thong of flipflops? A swelter of thermometers? A passion of hugs? A development of photographs? Gee, this is fun…

    1. Yes, isn’t it great? Makes me wonder why these gorgeous words haven’t been adopted into general use. Surely it would be better than wandering about, as we do, saying: oh look, a bunch of butterflies next to a bunch of shrubs, and oh, look over there, a bunch of lobsters…

  2. That’s a brilliant list. Some great names like a shiver of sharks and a fever of stingrays. I even like a risk of lobsters, although I think scuttle should be used as well as in “I should have been a pair of claws scuttling across the floors of silent seas.” from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.

    1. I wouldn’t have caught that, but looking at both versions now, the line begs the extra beats of ‘ragged’… Ah, these tiny details that are neither tiny nor details…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s