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Barrel of Monkeys: A Compendium of Collective Nouns for Animals

by Samuel Fanous Bodleian Library
Pub Date:
Hbk 144 pages
AU$27.99 NZ$29.56
Product Status: In Stock Now
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Were all familiar with a flock of sheep but what are the collective nouns for racehorses, pigs, zebras or giraffes? Drawing on a range of sources, from fifteenth-century hunting terms to more recent inventions that have now entered the language, this book collects over 100 examples of the most interesting collective nouns for animals, each illustrated with charming woodcuts by the renowned naturalist engraver of the eighteenth century, Thomas Bewick.

Some describe a key characteristic of the animal in question: a shrewdness of apes, a busyness of ferrets. Others are delightfully humorous: a piddle of puppies, a crash of rhinoceroses. Featuring pets, farmyard animals, big cats and wild beasts, this beautifully presented book is the perfect gift for animal lovers and all those with an interest in this quirky linguistic tradition.

A Barrel of Monkeys

A Compendium of Collective Nouns for Animals

“Fanous marries a love of the English language with striking eighteenth-century engravings. . . . It’s difficult to select favorites but how about ‘a crash of rhinoceroses,’ ‘a mischief of mice,’ and ‘a piddle of puppies’? Each of about 125 collective nouns is paired with an illustration by Thomas Bewick, a famed naturalist engraver.”
Samuel Fanous is Head of Publishing at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford. Susie Dent is a writer and broadcaster on language. She is the resident lexicographer on Channel 4's long-running game show, 'Countdown'.