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murder : crows :: _ : collective nouns

Sorry, no multiple choice this time.

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closed as not constructive by FumbleFingers, Mitch, F'x, Robusto, MrHen Jun 7 '11 at 13:40

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I'd offer a contrivance. –  misterben Jun 6 '11 at 21:11
    
Apart from describing those endless "Terms of venery" lists, you probably wouldn't have much need for such a concept anyway. So what's wrong with Collection of collective nouns for those rare occasions? I think the question itself is a contrivance. –  FumbleFingers Jun 6 '11 at 22:59
    
Are you looking for a new word or for an existing word? –  Mitch Jun 7 '11 at 0:15
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@FumbleFingers - The issue came up after we decided to name some software projects after collective nouns. Given this, we felt that the logical thing to name the document describing the overall architecture of these projects would be the collective noun that refers to a collection of collective nouns. –  Dan Lidral-Porter Jun 7 '11 at 6:49
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An existing word specific to this situation doesn't exist (and the 'venery' type words are for the most part deliberately frivolous coinages. Since your application is technical, you may want to look at mathematical words. For example, 'set', or 'family', or collection of ...what is a collective noun again? –  Mitch Jun 7 '11 at 13:49

3 Answers 3

"Terms of venery." James Lipton's excellent book An Exaltation of Larks collects more of them than you could possibly imagine.

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Venery only applies to animals. –  z7sg Ѫ Jun 6 '11 at 21:33
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@z7sg - Such a sweeping statement! But it could lead to misunderstanding, since the first definition of "venery" in several dictionaries is "the gratification of sexual desire." –  MT_Head Jun 6 '11 at 23:12
    
@z7sg - However, more seriously, I refer you to the Boke of St. Albans, printed in 1486 (the link is to a facsimile edition from 1901) which contains a list of "Companys of beestys and fowlys", among which are "a doctrine of doctors", "a diligence of messengers", etc. That list has been referred to as a list of "terms of venery" since at least 1883, in Antiquary: a magazine devoted to the study of the past, Volume 7‌​. –  MT_Head Jun 6 '11 at 23:14
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Well, humans are animals... –  z7sg Ѫ Jun 7 '11 at 0:59
    
And can be hunted, as The Most Dangerous Game shows... –  MT_Head Jun 7 '11 at 1:21

The only published term I can find is a confusion of collective nouns, this is Jim Wegryn's coinage from A Barrel Full of Fun.

But personally I prefer misterben's contrivance.

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Wikipedia's entry on terms of venery lists "nouns of assembly" as an idiom with the same meaning.

Later in wiktionary appendix entry you also find

  • nouns of assemblage and
  • nouns of multitude

These are all synonyms for 'terms of venery', maybe these are interesting due to the fact that terms of venery, strictly speaking refer to collective nouns of animals. I will use them interchangeably hence forth in the examples, please substitute all variants when evaluating certain proposals.

Now, you question says you are looking for a collective noun for terms of venery i.e. nouns of multitude in which you could say

  • something of terms of venery

A slight problem here is that terms of venery are most apply to single words; but overlooking this I would say that what is crucial here is that you are talking about assembly of words and therefore (maybe too obvious) a candidate to consider is:

  • lexicon of nouns of multitude

For lexicon you can interchange corpus, and maybe dictionary, almanac, encyclopedia and so on.

On the chance that the above term is missing what you are thinking about completely, then let me question a part of your clarification:

The issue came up after we decided to name some software projects after collective nouns. Given this, we felt that the logical thing to name the document describing the overall architecture of these projects would be the collective noun that refers to a collection of collective nouns.

It seems to me that you might be mixing something here

  • the document describing the overall architecture of these projects might not be representable by a collective noun at all.
  • also note that the overall architecture of these projects might not be representable by a collective noun at all, either.

I would say that a good test for what is applicable is to use a construct:

  • a group (or collection) of things

where things are your projects (or something more specific) and see if that really points to the thing you want to talk about (for example "a document" is almost certainly not "a group of" anything; although it might contain a group or a collection of terms; which again is a lexicon).

If a construct "a group of ..." works semantically only then you should search for adequate collective noun. In another words - then this can be seen as purely aesthetic substitution, an aesthetic improvement.

So, a lexicon works if we look at collective nouns as words, but in terms of systems it might be completely wrong. Lexicon refers only to the aspect of linguistic of these terms, ignoring the fact that these are some systems, when normally for example between bees and swarm (collective noun and the noun) there exists a deeper connection - two bees don't make a swarm, but when there are enough you have a multitude, an assemblage that is significantly different from a single or a few specimens (different intelligence, different ways to hunt, etc).

If you need such a word (from the context of systems) for your case then realize that it is not enough to specify that the names of the projects are collective nouns and that you will have to describe commonalities between these projects for us to be even able to think about adequate word.

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