collective nouns for people

Collective Nouns for People 👨‍⚕️👩‍⚕️

List of  Collective Nouns for People 👬🏽👫👭🏻👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 & Professions 👨‍⚕️👩‍⚕️

ADDucation’s list of collective nouns for people (also know as collective terms and terms of venery for people) can never be definitive but it’s fun. A “collective noun” refers to “plural-only” words, e.g. people for person. “The Book of St Albans“, published around 1500, included the first list of collective nouns for people. It was based on folklore, humor and the whim of the publisher – just like our list! Share your suggestions and comments below…

  • ADDucation’s list of collective nouns for people was compiled by Joe Connor and last updated 04 Jun 2022.

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Human Group 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Singular Collective Nouns for People Collective terms Explanation & Etymology
Actors 🎭
Actor A cast of actors. cast, company Cast, originally the “act of throwing”, was used from 1711 used to describe giving out parts in a play to actors.
Artistes Artist A troupe of artistes. troupe From French “troupe” meaning “company” or “troop” referring to a band of performing artistes including acrobats, singers, dancers, gymnasts, minstrels etc.
Boys
Boy 👦🏻 A rascal of boys. rascal Fun collective term for boys gathered in groups, gangs, teams, etc.
Butlers Butler A draught of butlers. draught A butler’s duties include looking after wines and liquor stored in the “buttery” (a room) by taking regular draughts to test for taste and quality.
Crooks Crook A bunch of crooks. bunch A crook is a bent “crooked” hook. Originally used to describe criminal activity it’s now commonly applied to politicians, corporations and governments worldwide. Bunch is one of the most commonly used collective nouns for people.
Directors Director A board of directors. board The board is the “table where council is held” by the “directors” (guides) from French “directeur” and earlier Latin “dirigere”.
Employees Employee A staff of employees. staff Commonly used for office and hospital staff, possibly derived from a staff (baton) used as a badge of office or authority or using a staff as a support.
Experts Expert A panel of experts. panel From French “panel” and earlier Latin “pannellus” (piece of cloth) which became legalese term for “piece of parchment listing jurors” leading to the general sense of people called on to discuss, advise and judge.
Fishermen Fisherman A drift of fishermen. drift, sulk, grumble These collective terms for fishermen suggest they’re not the happiest group of people!
Guests Guest A cohort of guests. cohort Used in tourism reports, business reports and in legal documents. Cohort is one of the most widely used collective nouns for people.
Husbands Husband An unhappiness of husbands.
unhappiness If you have any positive collective noun for husbands or relationships in general please share them!
Judges Judge 👨🏽‍⚖️ A bench of judges. bench Judges originally sat on long benches when presiding over a court. As a collective term bench is also used to describe magistrates, bishops and aldermen.
Jurors Jury A damning of jurors. damning The right to a trial by jury was included in the Magna Carta signed by King John in 1215. A plaintiff found guilty was a “damning” verdict, from the Latin word “damnāre” to condemn which left the plaintiff liable to eternal damnation.
Listeners Listener An audience of listeners. audience Originally a gathering of people within hearing range. Derived from French “audience” (the action of hearing) and earlier Latin “audentia” (a hearing, listening) and has since been extended to include book readers, radio and TV show audiences.
Millennials Millennial A marketing campaign or cast. marketing campaign Most marketing campaigns, and acting casts, featuring a group of millennials cover the LGBT+ spectrum.
Mourners Mourner A cortege of mourners. cortege The procession of mourners and vehicles moving slowly towards a funeral is called a cortege (from the french cortège, meaning “train of attendents”.
Musicians Musician A band of musicians. band Bands of cloth are worn as a mark of identification by organized groups, typically solders. Groups of musicians were originally attached to army regiments. Bands is one of the most widely used collective nouns for people.
Nuns Nun A superfluity of nuns. superfluity, convent, murmur Superfluity means excessive and English nunneries were overcrowded as nobles offloaded their daughters past marriageable age which led to pressure for church reform. During the Protestant reformation Henry VIII ordered the closure of convents and monasteries.
Painters 👩🏻‍🎨
Painter A misbelief of painters or misbelief of artists.
misbelief Used specifically to describe portrait painters who had to strike a balance between flattering their patrons and painting a realistic portrait – which could easily be extended to a misbelief of Photoshop users and digital artists today! It was the artists ability to create an illusion of beauty which led to misbelief in those viewing the portrait.
Pardoners Priest or Friar A lying of pardoners. lying “Pardoners” claimed to cleanse people of their sins offering absolution for a fee. Fraudsters led to charges of “lying pardoners” in City of London records.
People Person A crowd of people. crowd People from French “peupel” (people, population, crowd; mankind, humanity) and earlier Latin populus (a multitude, crowd, throng) gathering together. Perhaps the best known term of venery for people.
Player Players A squad of players. squad Sports teams are often referred to as squads.
Policemen Policeman 👮🏽 A posse of policemen. posse Presumably from sheriffs, posse can be applied to any group of people with a common occupation or characteristic.
Policemen Policeman A squad of police officers. squad Squad is also commonly applied to soldiers. One of the most commonly known collective nouns for people.
Professors Professor in the professoriate. professoriate Collective term for a group of academic professors, typically in universities.
Sailors Sailor A crew of sailors. sailors From French “crue” (group of soldiers) through “gang of men on a warship” to “people acting or working together” not just on warships.
Servants Servant An obedience of servants. servants In servitude obedience was expected and masters were demanding, often with cruel punishment for broken rules.
Sheriffs Sheriff A posse of sheriffs. posse From the wild west days “a body of men summoned by a sheriff to enforce the law”.
Singers Singer 🧑‍🎤 A choir of singers. choir From Latin “choir” (band of singers).
Soldiers Soldier An army of soldiers. army From French “armée” (armed troop) and earlier Latin “armata” (armed force) originally used for sea and land expeditions the term is now applies specifically to land forces.
Soldiers Soldier A regiment of soldiers. regiment Units organized systematically by being “regimented’ from the old French “regiment” (government, rule) and earlier Latin “regimentum” and “regere (to rule).
Soldiers Soldier A platoon of soldiers. platoon One of many collective terms applied to servicemen and servicewomen including company, division, unit etc. Platoon is from the French “peloton”, a small ball.
Soldiers Soldier A squad of soldiers. squad. A squad is a also a popular collective term for policemen and one of the widely used collective nouns for people.
Soldiers Soldier A troop of soldiers. troop Also used in the scouting movement, e.g. a scout troop. From the French troupe or Germanic/Frankish origin “thorp” for an assembly or gathering.
Students Student A cohort of students. cohort “Student cohort” is commonly used in educational circles when referring to a year group. See also a “class” of students.
Pupils Pupil A class of pupils. class Groups of students are often described as pupils and could also be described as a cohort of pupils.
Tapsters Tapster A promise of tapsters. promise A “tapster” is an outdated term for a barman/barmaid (who looks after the “taps”) and their promise with a nod, eye contact or other acknowledgement that you’re next to be served – which may well turn out to be a false promise! Shakespeare’s Celia and Rosalind in “As You Like It” reflect on this “… the oath of a lover is no stronger than the word of a tapster.”
Teachers Teacher A faculty of teachers. faculty Educational institutions are often divided into faculties and teachers are faculty members.
Tourists Tourist A flock of tourists. flock From Old English “flocc” (crowd).
Visitors Visitor A cohort of visitors. cohort Used in business reports and in legal documents.
Witches Witch 🧙‍♀️ A coven of witches.
coven Originally a gathering or assembly of witches until coven was first coined during the 1660’s. Popularized in “Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft” written by Sir Walter Scott and published in 1830.
Wives Wife An impatience of wives.
impatience For some reason collective nouns for partners are generally negative!
Women 👩🏻‍🤝‍👩🏼
Woman A gaggle of women or a bevy of ladies. gaggle, bevy Gaggle shared with geese and the chit-chat noise they make. A bevy of ladies also isn’t a flattering portrayal of women in todays world. Ladies, please share your best collective terms for men!

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Who Decides Collective Nouns for People?

There’s no official collective nouns committee, or authority, which approves new collective nouns. There’s nothing to stop you, us, or anyone else, coming up with new collective nouns and seeing if they gain popularity in lists of collective nouns.

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One response to “Quiz Zone Literature & Philosophy”

  1. Ray Magill says:

    Facinating to see the difference between imperial and Canada and Australia. I was aware of the most of US differences, but not cup sizes.missing from list are the beer barrel sizes, keg, pin, etc. you could add champagne bottle sizes. And note that 640 acres is 1 square mile.

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