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Montessori | Collective Nouns

Collective Nouns (Montessori English Language Lesson and Worksheet)

An unkindness of ravens, a blessing of unicorns. Can you guess the other terms used to refer to a group of animals? Live and learn in this fun lesson on collective nouns.

HuntersWoodsPH Montessori English Language Collective Nouns

If you should ever find yourself in the middle of a group of jugglers, the word you want is “neverthriving.”




A group of jugglers is called a “neverthriving of jugglers.”


Why? Who knows? Perhaps the writer of The Book of Saint Albans, where the term is enshrined, wanted to warn us about the profitability of a juggling career.


Whatever the reason, a neverthriving (sometimes spelled a never-thriving, not that it changes things much) is the collective noun for jugglers.

Collective nouns are nouns that refer to a group of people, things, or animals.


These collective nouns are probably already familiar to you.

  • Army
  • Bunch
  • Clan
  • Cluster
  • Colony
  • Company
  • Congregation
  • Crowd
  • Family
  • Group
  • Squad
  • Team
  • Troop

Some collective nouns can be used for different types of individuals.

  • Band – can refer to people (a band of musicians) or animals (a band of coyotes)
  • Batch – of students, of baked goods
  • Bed – of flowers, of oysters, of snakes
  • Bevy – of beauties, of doves, of larks (of anything, really)
  • Brace – of bucks, of ducks, of grouse, of goals (in football)
  • Caravan – of camels, of vehicles
  • Chain – of finches, of islands
  • Class – in school, in taxonomy
  • String – of pearls, of racehorses
  • Troupe – of performers, of monkeys, of shrimp
HuntersWoodsPH Montessori English Language Collective Nouns

Some collective nouns mostly refer to people.

  • assembly of clergy
  • board of directors
  • brigade of soldiers
  • choir of angels (insofar as angels can be considered people)
  • den of thieves
  • panel of experts
  • pantheon of gods (again, insofar as…)

Some are used for people but only rarely (and some of them only in a humorous way).

  • ambush of widows
  • argument of architects
  • argument of wizards
  • neverthriving of jugglers
  • ponder of philosophers
  • prudence of vicars

There are collective nouns that are used for plants.

  • bouquet of flowers
  • clump of trees
  • copse of trees
  • grove of trees
  • tuft of grass

And there are collective nouns for, well, all sorts of other things.

  • archipelago (islands)
  • armada (ships)
  • arsenal (weapons)
  • belt (asteroids)
  • constellation (of stars)
  • embarrassment of riches
  • festival of balloons
  • wad of bills

But some of the most fun ones to learn are those collective nouns that are used for groups of animals (including those of the mythical variety).

Mind you, these aren’t used ALL the time. Some are used for (and originated from) literary purposes and you can usually just refer to many of these animals as a “group of” — but it’s interesting to know their collective nouns as well! Here are just a few: 

  • bellowing of bullfinches
  • blessing of unicorns
  • bury of rabbits
  • congress of baboons
  • conspiracy of ravens
  • deceit of lapwings
  • exaltation of larks
  • fall of lambs
  • lamentation of swans
  • lodge of beavers
  • loveliness of ladybirds
  • memory of elephants
  • murder of crows
  • ostentation of peacocks
  • parliament of owls
  • piddle of puppies
  • piteousness of doves
  • prattle of parrots
  • rhumba of rattlesnakes
  • shrewdness of apes
  • siege of bitterns
  • thunder of dragons
  • tiding of magpies
  • trace of hares
  • troubling of goldfinches
  • turn of turtles
  • ubiquity of sparrows
  • zeal of zebras


Note: some creatures can have several different group names:

  • An aurora of polar bears, a celebration of polar bears
  • A conspiracy of ravens, an unkindness of ravens
  • A caravan of camels, a scorn of camels

Ready to put your new knowledge to the test?

Montessori English Language Worksheets: Collective Nouns

In the worksheets below, see if you can identify the collective nouns used for the animals in the blue boxes. These items are taken directly from a set of nomenclature cards released by the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI).


Note: If you’re answering this in a desktop/laptop and you find the worksheet too big, you can zoom out the screen. (For Windows users, you can scroll down the mouse wheel while pressing the Ctrl button on your keyboard.)

Collective Nouns: Worksheet 1

Collective Nouns: Worksheet 2

Collective Nouns: Worksheet 3

Did you enjoy answering these worksheets?

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