Most of the time, the collective noun for a group of animals is fairly mundane and not specialized to the animal, at least in the scientific literature.

Most pack hunters form packs. Most herd animals form herds. Most birds, and the occasional sheep, form flocks. Most fish form schools. Most whales and dolphins form pods. Most (non-human) primates form troops. Most insects form swarms.

All of these terms, along with family, litter, nest, hive and colony - for more specialized groups of animals - have scientific merit.

Meanwhile, the more fanciful, specialized "terms of venery", like murder of crows, gaggle of geese, business of ferrets, et cetera, are rarely if ever used in a scientific context. With one exception.

Lions are pack hunters. But a "pack" of lions is universally known as a pride of lions, even in the scientific literature. Why was this one species singled out for its term of venery?

It's not like a murmuration, a particularly large flock - originally and most commonly of starlings - whose emergent behavior is mesmerizing and of scientific interest in its own right. A pride of lions is just a bunch of lions that live and hunt together, no different from a pack of wolves (except for the fact that lions are felines and wolves are canines).

Why are lions, and lions alone, preferentially collected by their specialized term of venery, even in the scientific literature?

  • Answered in english.stackexchange.com/questions/221686/…?
    – Xanne
    Apr 15 '20 at 5:00
  • @Xanne No, it isn't. That question asks "Why is it a pride?" This question asks "Why is it always a pride?" In the scientific literature: it's a flock of crows, not a murder of crows; a flock of geese, not gaggle of geese; a nest of ferrets, not a business of ferrets. But lions are always in prides. Why?
    – No Name
    Apr 15 '20 at 5:11
  • The scientist may not use such terms but those who do have lists of them available as Terms of Venery. Their diversity and possible origins are discussed here. english.stackexchange.com/questions/430066/…
    – Elliot
    Apr 16 '20 at 4:44
  • 2
    "Many of these, including tiding of magpies, murmuration of starlings, unkindness of ravens, and exaltation of larks, are poetic inventions that one can trace back to the fifteenth century." worldwidewords.org/articles/collectives.htm
    – Lambie
    Apr 16 '20 at 16:43
  • 1
    From the comment thread I think people are talking past each other. @NoName is asking for about the linguistic history of, given that there is a set of words for groups of animals of different species (the invented terms of venery), some of those terms stuck and some remained older organic terms, so why (or how) did the invented word word 'pride' last in the context of lions? (and an answer should probably refer to other terms that did or didn't stick or never changed at all in order to confirm or not the premise of the question).
    – Mitch
    Apr 16 '20 at 17:45

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