Did you know? THE BOOK OF ST ALBANS
I (Valerie Khoo Director of Sydney Writers’ Centre) came across this interesting post on Huffington Post recently, on the origins of 7 bizarre English words. One of the words, gaggle – as in, a gaggle of geese – was one of many collective nouns first mentioned in The Book of St Albans.
One of the first English printed books, THE BOOK OF ST ALBANS was first published in 1486. It’s actually a collection of essays on hunting and hawking, but is perhaps most well-known for its list of nouns for groups of animals. The list has been attributed to Dame Juliana Berners, whose essay proved so popular the book was still in print many years later. She’s been credited with terms like a “murder of crows” and the “gaggle of geese”.
Since Dame Berners humorous take on collective nouns was first published, we’ve continued to add to the lexicon of terms for groups of people or animals. Some more modern ones include “a crash of software”, “an annoyance of mobiles”, “an intrigue of politicians” and “a tedium of golfers”.