Saturday, 11 September 2010

Word of the Week: Philtrum

Philtrum is the name of the small depression between the base of the nose and the upper lip.


Thursday, 2 September 2010

Word of the Week: Murder

You might be wondering why I have chosen such an ordinary word this week. Well, a few years ago I saw an English film with the curious title A Murder of Crows. I did notice crows in a couple of scenes but none of them was killed, so why this name? Intrigued by the title I did some searching and found to my surprise that murder is a collective noun for crows!

Indeed, there is a long list of fascinating terms for groups of animals. I mention below a selection of the more interesting ones. Here is an enlightening discussion on the origin of the word murder and whether terms such as the following were ever in regular use or just someone's idea of a joke. And another over here.
A venue of vultures                                    Photo: Sentrawoods
A murder of crows                                    Photo: Loz Flowers
  • A shrewdness of apes
  • A murder / parliament of crows
  • A piteousness of doves
  • A business of ferrets / flies
  • A leap of leopards
  • A parliament of owls
  • A pandemonium of parrots
  • An ostentation of peacocks
  • An unkindness of ravens
  • A descent of woodpeckers
  • A cackle of hyenas
  • A crash of rhinos
  • A prickle of porcupines
  • A cowardice of curs
  • A convocation of eagles
  • A sounder of pigs
  • A venue of vultures
  • A kettle of vultures (when circling in the air)
  • An ambush of tigers
  • A sleuth of bears
  • A coalition  of cheetahs
  • A mischief of mice
I owe this information to the following webpages:,,

PS: I have chosen a smaller font size for this post. Please let me know if you prefer this size or the one in the previous posts. Thanks.