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Re: A murder of crows

Posted by Smokey Stover on June 14, 2007

In Reply to: A murder of crows posted by Probe on June 14, 2007

: A murder of crows

: Hello! Would you give some examples of typical usage of this collective noon?


A typical use would be as the title of a mystery story or a movie--some fictional work. It has also been used to characterize a diminution of the number of crows found in and around Chicago. It is also used as a whimsical title for various things possibly related to crows, but possibly not. And of course it comes up in discussions of collective words for animals of various species. Much the same might be said of "murder of ravens," except for the Chicago reference. You can also choose, if you prefer, an "unkindness of ravens." If one is talking about rooks (a European variety of crow), one can mention a rookery of rooks, or a clamour of rooks, or a parliament of rooks.

Among other groups of birds, I especially like "murmuration of starlings," and "exaltation of larks."

If you wish to know how it is used in everyday conversation, well, I guess it isn't. It is perfectly okay to say "flock of crows," which is what most people say when occasion demands. The same is true of "crash of rhinoceri," which most people eschew in favor of "herd."

You can find out a lot about collective terms by searching on "animal collectives" or on the term for a group of any single species. One easy to use list is: