Modern Software Experience

2011-02-07

What do you call?

Geniaus just tweeted an excellent question: Is there a collective noun for genealogists? Gaggle, Giggle, Group? I like gaggle what do you think?.

Well, there are many collective nouns to choose from. Maybe a herd, a drove, a flock, a horde, a pack or a swarm. What about a school of genealogists? That sounds somewhat scholarly.

We use many collective nouns already, and many of these need little or no discussion. There is the uninspired a group, but there's also a couple, a bunch, a number, a slew, and a lot. A room of genealogists sounds right, and a gathering of genealogists has the alliteration advantage. The collective noun a handfull hints at a certain loveable quality of genealogists, while a confusion of genealogists hints at their ability to lack consensus regarding conflicting evidence.

Both a flock of genealogists and a congregration of genealogists sound religious. Both an army of genealogists and a legion of genealogists sound military. An association of genealogists and a society of genealogists are likely to continually create confusion with actual genealogical assocations and societies.

The little-known collective noun family fits genealogists just right, but a family of genealogists is probably too confusing too catch on; the word family has too many different meanings already. A population of genealogists is just as right and just as wrong.

There is no rule that says we need to stick with existing collective nouns. A census of genealogists sounds just right. However, considering that we often joke that genealogy is a disease, the subtly self-deprecating a plague of genealogists seems suitably infectious.

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Geniaus: Is there a collective noun for genealogists?...