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An Unkindness of Ravens: A Book of Collective Nouns
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An Unkindness of Ravens: A Book of Collective Nouns

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  91 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Why are geese in a gaggle? Are crows really murderous? And what makes lions so proud? Collective nouns are one of the most charming oddities of the English language, often with seemingly bizarre connections to the groups they identify. But have you ever stopped to wonder where these peculiar terms actually came from? Most of those found in this book have their origins in t ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published September 11th 2014 by Michael O'Mara Books Ltd
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Amalia Gavea
''Stand near woodland in early spring, after night has fallen and when the air is still, and if you're lucky, you'll hear the thrilling, trilling song of the nightingale.''

Few things can be more relaxing and soothing than the nightingales' song in the twilight. Those of us who live in the big cities where every sound of nature is drawn in a cacophony of cars and humans rarely get the chance to enjoy the chirping of Nature's greatest singers. Birds have always fascinated us. They embody tranquility and steal
Dane Cobain
Jan 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Well, here’s a concept that you don’t see very often – An Unkindness of Ravens is a book of collective nouns, like ‘a gaggle of geese‘ or ‘a pride of lions‘, and it makes for pretty fascinating reading. The author delves into the history behind each of the terms, which largely originated in the Middle Ages amongst the aristocracy, and my only criticism about the way that she does it is that she relies on a single source, An Exaltation of Larks, far more than she ought to.

That said, i
J.T. Wilson
Jan 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
A book of collective nouns is a familiar enough conceit: is there a collective noun for books of collective nouns? A Kindle of collective noun books perhaps? This one, however, exceeded modest expectations with medieval tidbits, orinthological facts and charming illustrations. Of course, most of the ones you'd expect have their etymology explored (apart from a flamboyance of flamingoes), together with some surprising obscurities from Middle England. Who knew that the collective noun for monks wa ...more
Alan Hughes
Aug 07, 2017 rated it liked it
A confectionary of collective nouns
Jul 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: language
I bought this book expecting it to be amusing and it was somewhat. It was also informative in unexpected ways and I learned quite a few oddments but the book was full of death. Casually accepted and noted in passing. Most of the collectives were assigned by hunters to their prey. All these beautiful animals were hunted for sport or for food in huge numbers. The book rings with human cruelty. Unintended I am sure because the information was only grace notes throughout the potted history of each c ...more
This was a lot of fun. I read quite a bit of this book last year preparing for a challenge, but I went through it once more. The sources for some collective nouns are obvious, but a lot of them were unknown to me, and very interesting. Glad to have read this book.
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
More as to open at random spots and discover different collective nouns. Book for the shelf as future reference
Tim Caines
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyable and insightful. A few nice references to Hardy and Shakespeare.
Katy Watkins
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
I'd give it a 2.5. After a while, the explanations for why company names are what they are became repetitive, but that's the nature of the beast I suppose.
Ludmila Marton
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
A dive into history as well as language. Very interesting.
Steven Heywood
Dec 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
A bit uninspired and "James Lipton came up with something a bit jolly for no apparent reason" got a bit tiresome after a while
Aug 14, 2015 marked it as to-read
Shelves: language
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