LINGUIST List 10.976

Wed Jun 23 1999

FYI: Collective Noun List, Interpreters, LIA Meeting

Editor for this issue: Scott Fults <>


  1. Michal Lisecki, Inventive collective nouns [Fwd: AWADmail Issue 13]
  2. Karlin, Ben, NEW LIST: Interpreters/Translators in Mental Health Settings
  3., LIA business meeting

Message 1: Inventive collective nouns [Fwd: AWADmail Issue 13]

Date: Sat, 19 Jun 1999 16:22:48 +0200
From: Michal Lisecki <>
Subject: Inventive collective nouns [Fwd: AWADmail Issue 13]


Thought you might enjoy the entries from the latest AWAD contest. Should
you come up
with some new collective nouns let me know <> and
I shall pass them down to the list. You might also like to contact AWAD
directly at <> or <>.

tafn mike

 AWADmail Issue 13
 June 16, 1999
 A Compendium of Feedback on the Words in AWAD and
 Other Interesting Tidbits about Words and Languages

Last week's theme featured a series of collective nouns and invited readers
to contribute their own coinages. What an outpouring of clever word brewing
it produced! It was a treat to read the creative expressions; however,
winnowing a few from over a thousand to include here was not.

While these inventions were no doubt concocted in a playful spirit, one
can't fail to notice a reflection of life itself in the fanciful idioms of
day-to-day experience. From "a succor of grandmas" (Daniel Cummings to "a patience of tech support callers" (A.J. Coco,, and "a whatever of teenagers" (Amy Guskin to "a digression on web-searchers" (J.J. Hill, we witness our fears, follies, annoyances and

The collective nouns ranged from those used to describe people from the
world's oldest profession, "an anthology of pros," to the newest one,
"a spider of webmasters," both suggested by a large number of readers.
Almost every other calling in between was included. It seems the law
profession is everyone's favorite choice for flagellation. Here are some of
the choicest:

a codicil of lawyers Ann Azevedo (
an objection of lawyers Hamish MacEwan (
a tragedy of lawyers Bob Nisonger (
a brief of lawyers Dan (, Amy Guskin
a slime of lawyers Helene Wenger (
a greed of lawyers Erickson (
a remora of lawyers John Virkkala (
a cheat of lawyers J. Watts (
a mercenary of lawyers Marlene Caroselli (

As may be imagined, many took shots at other occupations stereotypically
contemptuous, such as tax-collectors and government officials. Enough
already. Let's see some other selections:

a circle of geometricians John Prowse (
a balm of grandmothers Sandy Troth (
a cylinder of CDs Ronald DelPorto
a wildcard of hackers Tom Guest (
a hindrance of tech-support people Deborah C.K. Wenger
a blizzard of AOL disks Elyse Chapman (
a host of nameservers J-Mag Guthrie (
a monica of sins Peter Olsen (
a row of knitters B. Martin (
a silicone of Baywatch reruns Duck (
a clutch of mechanics Lucy Dickinson (
a phile of lovers Shirley Woods
a stoppit of parents Dirk Vanderbeke
a conspiracy of traffic lights Thomas Maslen (
a purchase of senators Maurizio C. Bettini-Saitta
a dump of spammers Catherine Carol Edge
a crop of plant scientists Patsy Evans
a collage of Post-it notes
a drove of taxi cabs Jody Drake (
a wad of gum-chewers Linda
a dictionary of linguaphiles Glenn Glazer (
a catch of jugglers Ann (
a byte of programmers Dave Horsfall (
an array of programmers Amod (
a clique of computer mice Crystal Cutler
a portfolio of stock brokers Durgesh Rao
a stack of newspapermen Gary Belkin (
an obfuscation of politicians Ed Paynter (
a plurality of group nouns Subash Chandra K.V.
a matrix of mathematicians Shawn Griffith
a suite of chocolates Robert Tolmach (
a passion of poets Khatru (
an imelda of shoes Rita M. Markey (
a sneer of Mac users DBgammon (
a segregation of racists Hofmeyr (
an intimidation of gargoyles Harry M. Kachline (
a sum of accountants Austen Naughten
a counting of accountants Dean Kielpinski (
a number of accountants Dan Olinger (
a mass of priests Jim Zehr (
a class of computer programmers Jim Watters (
 [a class of OOP programmers, to be more precise. -Anu]
an obfuscation of user manuals A. R. White (
an enterprise of trekkies David Allen (
a beam of trekkies Cynthia J Hernandez
a grab-bag of purse-snatchers Susan Williams (
a 404 of former websites Larry Sherman (
a of nihilists James S. Hawtree (
a muddle of deans Michael Grant
an interference of mother-in-laws John Weston (
a blather of chat-room participants Jeff Marx (
a confusion of multi-disk CD players Robert Tolmach
a brace of orthopedists/orthodontists (suggested by a lot of people)

The most popular collective term was a giggle of girls. Some other
collective nouns that employ spoonerism, pun, blend, and other linguistic

a wunch of bankers
a somephony of music critics Dinesh Katiyar
an ear of colonels John Imhof (,
 Projeto Alcance (
a duke of URLs Ric Bailey (
a herd of hearing aids Robert Tolmach (
a dissemblage of politicians Mike Trebing
a silence of lambs Fredrock (

Ann Elise Smoot ( asked, "I've really enjoyed the
words this week, being an animal lover. I read recently that a group of
larks is called an exaltation. Is this true? It doesn't confirm this in my
dictionary. If it is true, what a wonderful fact!"

Yes, Ann, it is "an exaltation of larks." In fact this is the title of a
book by James Lipton. This delightful book is a treasury of collective
from whimsical (a split of schizoids) to inspiring (a blur of
Impressionists). Find it in your local library or a friendly neighborhood
bookstore. If you need more, try "A Crash of Rhinoceroses" by Rex Collings.

Francis S.M. Barnett ( sent this correction,
"If you announce that you are in a sounder of swines, the grammarian ranger
will not mourn your passing. Swine is the singular and plural for this
usage (although for colloquial usage as a term of contempt, the plural with
an "s" is acceptable)." Thank you!

We close with a couple of stories. From L. Rivlin
"A few years ago, John Major invited some ex-prime ministers for a
get-together at 10, Downing Street. I think it was Harold MacMillan,
Harold Wilson, James Callaghan and Margaret Thatcher (I'm only
absolutely sure about MacMillan and Thatcher). While they were there,
Thatcher speculated about the proper word denoting a group of prime
ministers. MacMillan suggested that the correct term would be: a Lack
of Principles."

David Steelman ( wrote, "I recall the story about a man
and wife sitting in a bar. Another man came in and sat down next to the
woman. As he sipped his drink, he ogled her until her husband, incensed,
demanded that the man stop looking at his wife and wipe those filthy
thoughts out of his mind. The man said, `I wasn't ogling your wife; I
thinking any filthy thoughts; I just came in here for a piece of beer.'
Since this `measure` word is normally associated with another noun and not
with beer, it gives the lie to the man's words."

A word of thanks to everyone who took the challenge and contributed.
Your lexic ally,


A word is dead / When it is said, / Some say. / I say it just / Begins to
live / That day. -Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Send your comments about words to AWADmail archives are
available at . To get them by
e-mail, send a blank message to with the Subject line
as "awadmail nn" where nn is the issue number, e.g., "awadmail 13".

tafn mike
Michal Lisecki, Ph.D candidate <>
Institute of Slavonic Studies, University of Silesia (Poland)
42-270 Sosnowiec, ul. Zytnia 12. tel/fax: ++32 291 47 84 ext.213 <> finger 4 my PGP
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Message 2: NEW LIST: Interpreters/Translators in Mental Health Settings

Date: Tue, 22 Jun 1999 16:52:00 -0500
From: Karlin, Ben <>
Subject: NEW LIST: Interpreters/Translators in Mental Health Settings


MO-SIGN is an automated, unmoderated e-mail discussion list for translators
and interpreters working in mental health settings. It grew out of Missouri
Department of Mental Health+s Mental Health Interpreters+ Resource Project
(MHIRP). That program has traditionally focused on Sign language
interpreting but is expanding to include spoken languages as well.
 The list is a service of the Missouri Department of Mental Health and
runs on Majordomo software. While anyone may join the list, it is intended
primarily for interpreters and translators who work in public, private,
community and educational mental health settings.

To join send an e-mail to with the message:

 subscribe MO-SIGN <your e-mail address>

or check the info on the web site:


Ben Karlin	<>
Staff Interpreter for the Deaf, St Louis Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center
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Message 3: LIA business meeting

Date: Wed, 23 Jun 1999 18:00:27 -0500
From: <>
Subject: LIA business meeting

It may be possible to conduct an informal business meeting of the
Linguistic Iconism Association this summer during the Linguistic
Institute at Champaigne-Urbana, Illinois. Members (and others who might
be interested in the organization) wishing to know more about this
please contact me at the e-mail address below. Thanks.

Best regards,
Jess Tauber
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