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#154

There is no possible rational reason why every animal has to have its own weird word to express the idea of a "group." Herd of cattle. Flock of sheep. Colony of ants. Sleuth of bears. Exaltation of larks. I think, way back when the English language was being invented, the two guys that were supposed to invent words for groups of animals were really drunk. They wrote down all the words they had so far on pieces of paper, threw them into a hat, and named groups of animals by drawing them out. What shall we call a bunch of toads? Draw a piece of paper: "knot." A knot of toads. Great. Hounds? "Mute." A mute of hounds. Great. They picked two words for crows. A group of crows is either a "murder" of crows or a "storytelling" of crows. I'm not kidding. A bunch of boar is intuitively called a "singular" of boar. You know they were drunk. After a while they stopped using words. "What shall we use for geese?" one said, and the other made some drunken cackle complicated by a hiccup, and that's how "gaggle" became a word. "Nide," describing a group of pheasants, was undoubtedly born under similar circumstances. Ah, well. I don't have a problem with a couple of drunk guys making up words. But I think the language scholars that insist on the correct usage of these hat-drawn words should be slapped frequently and hard.