You've heard of a class of students, a pack of dogs, a herd of cows, and probably a school of fish. These are collective nouns -- a group of people, animals or things.

The English language can get humorous at times, even a bit crazy, with its 900 collective nouns. Most were coined in the 15th Century, which could account for some of the odd ones.

Looking up, you may see a convocation of eagles, an exaltation of larks, a conspiracy of ravens, a murder of crows, a charm of finches, a cast of falcons, a confusion of warblers, or a parliament of owls.

If a mutation of thrushes has left a carcass behind, you will likely see a wake of buzzards.

On safari, you may see a bloat of hippos, a flamboyance of flamingos, a bask of crocodiles, a shrewdness of apes, a barrel of monkeys, an ambush of tigers, and a coalition of cheetahs along with the more familiar pride of lions.

Don't step on a generation of vipers or an army of ants.

In the water, you may be swimming with a bale of turtles, a bank of swans, a bind of eels, a congregation of alligators, a stream of minnows, a lounge of lizards, a pod of whales, a knot of toads, or a shiver of sharks.

If you are fortunate, you will be surrounded by a party of rainbow fish.

If you see a flight of dragons or a blessing of unicorns, be sure to take photos and call the newspaper.

Sadly, you are more likely to encounter a prickle of porcupines or a stench of skunks.

Dave Child

Dave is the founder of Readable and has been building websites since the early 90s. He’s one of those fortunate people who gets to do what he loves for a living.