Name Explain: What Is The Collective Noun For Humans?

Terms of venery, collective nouns of specific animal groups (flock, herd), come out of the sophisticated vernacular based around hunting traditons. Here’s a few of those I wish were more integrated in the everyday lexicon:

Conspiracy of Lemurs, Parliment of Owls, Armory of Ardvarks, Congregation of Alligators, Memory of Elephants, Murder of Crows, Consortium of Octupuses

All of them could be or already are great band names, and yes- it’s a consortium of octupuses, not octupi. The standard English plural word for Octupus is Octupuses, because Octupus is a Greek word and the use of ‘i’ to denote plurality is a feature of Latin, apparently.

Learning as much was nearly as mystifying as the time a friend informed at a Phish show that “Possum” (the name of the song playing at the time) is a bastardized derivative – it’s not ‘a possum’, it’s ‘an opossum’. There are animals referred to as possums, but they are native to Australia and were named as such for having a similar appearance to the American opossum. Lasty passel is the collective noun used for opossums.