A Murder of Crows: Choosing the Right Collective Noun



I have always found collective nouns in English interesting; everyone knows it is a 'pride of lions' but how about a collective noun for squirrels?

As I was working on 'The Ghost of Crow Cavern,' I found myself having to check collective nouns.

There is a scene in the book when the greys demonstrate their awe inspiring technology. In a pompous demonstration with the help of a device which they had stolen and adapted from the Cerebri, with the flick of a button they reap havoc on a flock of curious crows swooning around above them sending many to their deaths.

I knew the collective noun for birds is 'a flock of birds' so in theory 'a flock of crows' would be correct but then I thought to check what the collective name for a group of crows was and these are what I found:

a horde/hover/muster/parcel and my absolute favourite and the one I used, a 'murder' of crows.

Murder! Yes it is a 'murder of crows', wonderfully fitting for the story I thought.

A similar thing happened when finding out what the collective name for weasels are. One was hoping for a word that somehow was a good fit to the context. In the story the weasels are devilish creatures to be avoided at all costs. So I checked the collective noun for a weasel and hoped for the best. These were the options:

Boogle/ confusion / gang / pack / sneak

I decided to use 'sneak' as it was the most ominous and the most fitting.

So, I learned that there are often more than one collective noun for a given animal and it is worth checking different collective nouns just in case you find one that fits like a glove!

And in case you were wondering and didn't feel like checking the collective noun for squirrels is a dray or a scurry.

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