Collective nouns are used to describe a group or collection of individuals. This includes groups of people, animals and inanimate objects.
They have developed throughout the history of the English language, with new collective nouns still being created, although time will tell if these latest additions will survive (think “a hood of bro’s”, “a array of geeks”).
Many of the collective nouns for animals were developed by the British upper classes in the medieval period to serve the dual purposes of helping with hunting and to differentiate themselves from the working classes.
Below are some examples of collective nouns:
- A crowd of people
- A class of students
- An orchestra of musicians.
View more collective nouns for people.
- A flock of sheep
- A murder of crows
- A colony of ants.
Browse more collective nouns for animals.
- A bunch of flowers
- A belt of asteroids
- A quiver of arrows
Get more collective nouns for objects.
Collective nouns are considered one of the ‘oddities’ of the English language, with a large amount of terms used. Some of these a pretty unusual, such as:
- A parliament of owls
- A smack of jellyfish
- A cowardice of curs
This site contains a full list of collective nouns for you to browse.
For a more detailed definition on using collective nouns, see the ‘what is a collective noun‘ page. This includes a look at using singular or plural verbs, as well as the difference between American and British use and some of the rules when using collective nouns.
For further examples on how to use collective nouns, see the ‘examples of collective nouns‘ page.