View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Monday, March 26, 2007

Coining Collective Nouns for the Emirates

I never got into coins or stamps when I was a child but I collected collective nouns—those names we give to a group of things.

A ‘group’ is such a mundane word so we learned at school some of these classical collective nouns:
A pride of lions.
A herd of elephants.
A swarm of bees.

I like those collective nouns that have got some pizzazz:
A brace of grouse.
A charm of finches.
A convocation of eagles.
An exaltation of larks.
A crash of rhinos.

Some birds, fish and animals have so many fascinating terms. A group of seals is known as a bob, a colony, a crash, a harem, a herd, a pod, a rookery, a spring and a team.

A group of geese is a flock when they are standing, a gaggle on the water, a skein when in flight and a wedge when they fly in a ‘V’ formation.

Collective nouns are a work in progress. Some suggested on various web sites include:
An absence of waiters.
An annoyance of mobile phones.
A balance of accountants.
A billow of smokers.
A clutch of mechanics.
A clench of sphincters.
A flunk of students.
A thicket of idiots.

The lists of collective nouns are growing all the way from an armory of aardvarks to a zeal of zebras. ‘Lists’ are a bit ordinary. What about a cornucopia of collective nouns? Collective nouns don’t always have to have alliteration.

I have been wondering about developing a congress of collective nouns that concern things and happenings to do with the United Arab Emirates. Can you help me?

These could relate to animals and birds.

A group of camels is a herd. Surely we can get more creative that this.

A collection of falcons is known as a cast. That’s skilful.

What do we call a group of oryx—one of our national symbols? This doesn’t appear in the usual list. We must find a better name than a herd. Any suggestions?

What is a constructive name for a number of dishdashas (especially if they are being worn)?

A glide of dishdashas?
A number of mosques?
A collection of muezzin who give the call to prayer?
Several sheesha?
A group of construction sites?


I was thinking of this subject as I saw an array of trucks on the road from Dubai to Fujairah.

What do you call a collection of trucks, as pictured above, pulled up on the Al Dhaid Road? A conference? A quagmire of trucks?

What do we call the long lines of trucks (pictured) coming from the Hajar Mountains, laden with rocks. A thunder of trucks? Maybe a tragedy of trucks?

Geoff Pound

Images: A turmoil and a tribulation of trucks

Some sites for collective nouns are:
The Collective Nouns
Collection of Collective Nouns
Fun with Words: Collective Nouns