You know that a bunch of crows is...
|From Pexabay.com (free images!)|
... often called a murder of crows.
Likewise, you might have heard of a charm of hummingbirds, a stand of flamingos, a cloud of bats, etc.
The question that always irks me in the back of my brain is this: Are these REALLY the terms that we should use for aggregations of such animals? Or are they just made up by a clever copywriter somewhere?
Such questions the enquiring mind wants to know! So, today, a fairly straightforward couple of questions that will open your mind to running down the true origins of words.
1. What are these kinds of terms called? (That is, what do you call words that denote a specific name for a group of a particular kind of animal, such as as "pack" of wolves.) What's THAT called? (Once you know this term, perhaps it will be simpler to figure this out...
2. Where did the term "murder" as a term for a group of crows begin? (Mind you, just linking to a random website isn't going to cut it in SRS-land. You need to have a highly credible source, which means you need to think about what counts as "credible" for etymological sources. It's an interesting question.. what does count?)
3. What about a "Charm" of hummingbirds?
4. And what about a "Mess" of iguanas? (Is that term for real? Or did someone just make it up for fun?)
5. And lastly, what do you call a bunch of kangaroos? How old is THAT term?
And (on the eve of US Thanksgiving), remember to give thanks for everything--and in particular, for these lovely language bits that amuse and keep us smiling throughout the year.
Be sure to let us know HOW you found out the answers to this Challenge. We want to learn what brilliant search things you did!
Search on, linguistically! Happy Thanksgiving!