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I'm wondering if one can use the word "aggregation" to mean a team or a collaboration of sorts, or even a certain collection of individuals in general, not just objects. Any thoughts?

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Cohort can be a useful word here, particularly in statistical discussions. – Joe Blow Jun 23 '11 at 19:50
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Aggregation can certainly be used to mean a collection of individuals.

I will note that, in my mind at least, aggregation tends to imply a level of disorganization or heterogeneity that I think somewhat conflicts with the idea of a formalized team. So, while it works well for an ad hoc collaboration working towards a particular end, I probably wouldn't use it for a group that is otherwise already entangled.

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Is your team 'entangled'? – TimLymington Jun 23 '11 at 20:39

In a word, yes.

Here's one of the definitions according to the OED:

4. concr. A whole composed of many particulars; a mass formed by the union of distinct particles; a gathering, assemblage, collection.

And from the quotations:

1638 Chillingworth Relig. Prot. i. ii. §142. 107 The Church being nothing else but an aggregation of Believers.

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In a word, no.

While aggregation can technically be used to describe a group of individuals, in common modern usage it only describes a group of objects.

Simon Jester's second example shows a usage of the word that has generally gone out of style.

Language is an ever-evolving animal, and majority usage rules – even if the dictionary tells you otherwise. Dictionaries are outdated almost the moment they are published, especially in this day and age. (Opinion)

If you must use aggregation to describe a group of individuals, try focusing on a quality (i.e. object) that the group shares, e.g.

... an aggregation of the writers' skills.

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