[Humanist] 25.411 collective noun

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Tue Oct 25 09:56:00 CEST 2011


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 25, No. 411.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
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        Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2011 15:57:02 -0400
        From: Wendell Piez <wapiez at mulberrytech.com>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 25.381 collective noun
        In-Reply-To: <20111015052618.7B60F1D84E6 at woodward.joyent.us>

Dear Willard,

On 10/15/2011 1:26 AM, Virginia Knight wrote:
> I suspect many collective nouns were thought up by someone in a
> light-hearted moment and put on a list of collective nouns, then
> circulated on such lists from then until now, but have never really been
> used because there has been no need for them.  For example some of the
> many collective nouns for birds apply to species that are not gregarious.

There are actually, as I understand it, two different collective nouns 
for deans.

As John Unsworth remarks, there is a "gripe of deans", which would be a 
small number. This would be no more than five or six, more likely three 
or four; but even two deans can make a gripe.

However, if the number grows large (from eight or nine on up), they 
become a "remonstrance".

Whether deans have been known to be so gregarious (or indeed whether 
they or anyone else has a need for a collective noun for themselves), I 
am not actually sure, but maybe Dean Unsworth can say.

Cheers,
Wendell

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