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A Compendium of Collective Nouns: From an Armory of Aardvarks to a Zeal of Zebras Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (September 17, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452108234
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452108230
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 7.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

London-based Woop Studios is Miraphora Mina, Eduardo Lima, Harriet Logan, and Mark Faulkner. Mira and Eduardo spent the last decade working as graphic designers on the Harry Potter movies. They joined with Harriet and Mark to visually celebrate a love of collective nouns.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Happy Reader TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought my copy of "A Compendium of Collective Nouns" in a bookstore, and almost didn't. The cover of it makes it look like a plain old dictionary, and I already have a surfeit of varying dictionaries. But I chanced on opening the book to peruse, and was and am delighted by the artwork.

I counted 84 full-page full-color prints and 62 smaller 2-tone graphics sprinkled throughout the entries. As well as visual appeal, this book is so much fun to read! From the beginning, the authors admit that "some of the terms we like best are of a newer, and on occasion more dubious, vintage, than the original terms of venery.... We make no apologies for being eclectic and hope that as you read this book you will have fun with the words."

And, in case you're wondering about "venery", as I was, "The practice of venery concerns pursuit.... In the old books [15th century], it referred exclusively to hunting." That's why many of the oldest collective, or company, nouns have to do with animals. (It was only later that venery was more associated with sexual pursuit.)

Most entries are accompanied by a dictionary definition or by a paragraph enlightening you. A "wince of dentists" may have no ancient etymology, but I was surprised, repeatedly, at the provenance of some terms. From whence, for example, could you possibly get "a fondness of stag beetles"? Answer (possibly apocryphal): JBS Haldane (1982-1964), British geneticist, was asked by theologians if "there were anything we could glean of the character of God by the scientific study of creation." Haldane is reported to reply that the Creator has "an inordinate fondness of beetles". (At the time beetles were half of the known insect species.)

Full indexes are a great help.
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By Unfinished Woman on February 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Beautiful illustrations enhance the wonderful lists of collective nouns, that are intriguing and fun. I had no idea that there were multiple collectives for animals, let alone for all the other objects, persons, professions... A perfect coffee table book, and remarkable for a lover of words.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Love this book. I gave it as a holiday gift to my husband. Then ended up buying two more copies for gifts as everyone in our extended family wanted to read it!
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