Banned: Flocking Flock Words

A senior employee at my first retail job was scolding me for not talking to the customers. I had my head down stocking shelves when a customer walked right past me.

His lecture was more of an education lesson and to be fair, my fifteen-year-old self probably needed it. I was informed that it’s not my boss, but actually the customers who pay my salary. Why wouldn’t I want to talk to them as they came into the store?

“The English language is such a beautiful thing. There are so many different ways to start a conversation with the customer.”

He was right. The English language is a beauty. It has more words than we need, and we add new ones every year.

Sometimes we just alter the meaning, like in the case of the word, “woke“. It was already in the dictionary, but not as an adjective. Now it can be used to convey a meaning that could already be imparted with other words.

Beautiful, just like my mentor told me one score and four years ago.

Do you know what’s not beautiful, at least not to my ears? When I tell someone I saw a flock of crows, and they say, “Don’t you mean a murder of crows?”

Really? Did the person not understand what I was trying to say? Do they think they sound cool using a word that means the unlawful killing of another human, to describe a group of birds?

These extra words for flocks of birds can go extinct as far as I’m concerned. The only time they’re used is when someone wants to interrupt your story in the most pretentious way possible.

Using these words is akin to asking for HP Sauce at breakfast when there is already ketchup on the table.

So there, The Prime Dictator’s first order of business is to ban all words other than “flock” to describe groups of birds.

We’ve been having fun adding new words to the dictionary. Let’s clean up a few:

Convocation of Eagles

Chattering of Starlings

Unkindness of Ravens

Mustering of Storks

Gaggle of Geese…oh, wait, the geese are in flight? Now they’re called a skein? Seriously? Flock off.

23 thoughts on “Banned: Flocking Flock Words

  1. Not going to lie; always kinda liked the term “murder” for crows. Then again, I like crows.

    Hadn’t heard of an “unkindness of Ravens” before though and honestly, it sounds worse than “murder”. Really miserable, sombre and gloomy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Crows are cool. It was really eerie the other morning near my house. No one was out on the streets that morning and these crows were making noise in an old tree with no leaves. It was like something from a movie.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great rant.

    But I love unusual names for groups of animals …
    a pod of whales
    a mischief of raccoons
    a smuck of jellyfish
    a pride of lions
    I also love that male and female rabbits are called bucks and does. Maybe because they are ruminants? Whereas baby rabbits are called … I think … kittens.
    And female donkeys are called Jennies.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I guess variety is the spice of life, so I get it, but I do find it strange that so many of these group names developed over time. I’d like to check into the etymology of some of these. It’s weird that the male/female words are so varied too – buck, doe, bull, cow, rooster, hen, etc. The creative side of me says, “Cool, more words in my palette,” but the logical side says, “one/zero, male/female, flock, herd, or school (I can see the logic for a different word for land, sea, or sky animals, and possibly underground animals).”
      That doesn’t even get into juvenile animals, ie, fawn, kid, foal, cub, kit, duckling, chick…
      Sorry, this is turning into another rant.


    1. If we could understand others’ thoughts, we’d be way better off. Thinking something always feels right, but when you say it, it can come out wrong, or be misinterpreted.


      1. We are a proud bunch. We make decisions either on our own or with the crowd. From an observation, without knowing the goings on, assumptions are made. Some are accurate and others are not.

        So, often the “other side” will simply refer to the latter as sheep or a flock per say. So, the divide continues to grow. Since assumptions are easy to cast, when people fear conflict or worse, public speaking.

        In turn, people are too quick to correct another. They never hear what is actually being expressed l, they just desire to appear intelligent, so they correct the grammar instead of paying attention.

        Like when a child first begins to speak. No one dares correct the child to use proper English, since they are more interested in what the child is actually saying or trying to say. Yet out here, people are more concerned with appearing than actually communicating.

        Some simply lack articulation, so they are shamed into silence. We all have something to contribute, all we must do is listen and understand. Lack of Articulation should not cease communication. Yet sadly it does too often.


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