Thursday, July 31, 2014



Since we humans tend to form groups, it’s no surprise that over the centuries English speakers have come up with countless words to label those groups. I hope you’ll enjoy this collection of words that refer to groups of people. Keep an eye out for those you find remarkable (some of my favorites include a w… of soliders, a s… of nuns & a s… of ascetics).

Groups of friends:
Circle, clique, host, multitude & troop

Groups of nuns:
Convent, nunnery, order, sisterhood & superfluity

Groups of soldiers:
Army, band, battalion, brigade, casern, century, company, crue, echelle, file, guard, host, kern, maniple, platoon, soldiery, squad, squadron, troop, velites, & wappenshaw

Groups of scholars:
Class, form, grade, school

Groups of prisoners:
Batch, clutch, colony & horde

Groups of monks:
Brotherhood, community, kellion, monastery, order, sangha (Buddhist), & skete (Ascetics)

Groups of rogues, ruffians, knaves or thieves:
Crue, picaros, gang, horde, mohock, den, gang, ring, thickness, raffle, & ropery

What's remarkable in all this? Please leave a note in the comments section.

My thanks go out to this week’s sources: OED, Merriam Webster, Wordnik, Etymonline  & David W.K. Godrich’s A Gaggle of Geese, 2011


  1. I love the idea of a "thickness of thieves". Almost as good as he old "murder of crows." And I didn't know half of those terms for military groups. A wappenshaw of sergeants, perhaps? The Wordmonger never ceases to amaze!

  2. Hi Anne - I'm with you on a thickness of thieves. It just makes sense somehow, plus it rolls so pleasantly off the tongue.

  3. Yep, gotta love a superfluity of nuns. I picture a group of nuns performing supernatural tasks. And a picaros of ruffians. Ha! Sounds like a dichotomy. Thanks for the fun read!

  4. Hi Christine - I imagine if the nuns were thieves we could call the group of them a picafluity.

  5. A mohock of knaves? A raffle of ruffians? A ropery of rogues? Who knew? I love them all. I almost regret retirement. We could have had some fun this upcoming year referring to the latest wildest group by these terms.