After yesterday's post (a murder of crows,) some one asked me on Facebook about the origin of these collective nouns, and I went and hauled out this delightful book that gives (and illustrates) many such nouns. An Exaltation of Larks by James Lipton is still widely available and I recommend it to anyone who loves words
Many of these words date back to the 14th century and were terms of venery (hunting) as in a covey of partridges or a husk of hares..
Then there's a worship of writers -- and note that the worship is "probably a reference to the reverence of writers for their patrons and not, alas, vice versa."
As always, these names inspire me to invent new ones -- what about a MacGuffin of mystery writers? (According to Wikipedia, a MacGuffin is a plot device in the form of some goal or desired object that the protagonist pursues often with little or no explanation as to its importance.)
I found that I had added at the back of the book terms for dog breeds I was familiar with -- a shed of Akitas, a loom of mastiffs, a bounce 0f Australian shepherds . . .
The kittehs were interested to know what their collective noun was and we found a kindle of kittens and a clowder of cats.
What about you? Any profession (a shush of librarians,) any trade ( a torque of mechanics,) any condition of life (an ambush of widows) is fair game. And while this book has covered the ground pretty thoroughly, it was published in 1968 -- surely there are some new categories awaiting names: feng shui consultants, computer programmers, IT technicians, Reiki practitioners, massage therapists, manicurists, aestheticians, pet sitters, recyclers ... what can you think of that needs a name?