Though these days the term wordmonger refers to "a writer or speaker who uses language pretentiously or carelessly," please join me in proposing a new meaning. A fishmonger appreciates and promotes fish, therefore, a wordmonger does the same for words.

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.