03 September 2008

AKA, The Venereal Game

36. An Exaltation of Larks or, The Venereal Game by James Lipton (4/5)

In this case, "venereal" refers to terms of venery, or the hunt. Though the author was not my reason for picking up the book, it does seem to be the very same James Lipton of Inside the Actors' Studio.

An Exaltation of Larks is a book of collective nouns with many lovely and entertaining engravings as illustrations. A skim of the introduction will suffice unless you're really interested in the history of such terms.

It's a good book for flipping through at random. In addition to the title, you'll encounter such gems as:
a murmuration of starlings
an incredulity of cuckolds
a murder of crows
a leap of leopards
a riffraff of knaves
a bale of turtles
a bale of turtles
a rafter of turkeys
a rafter of turkeys
The first two sections of the book, "The Known" and "The Unknown," are comprised of terms that are as correct and legit today as "a school of fish" or "a pride of lions." So if you do not want to seem a churl at court, I recommend you pick up the book and learn a few more of these poetic collective nouns.


Two years ago on TTaT: Keep your eye on the penguin

4 comments :

  1. What a cool book, and I love James Lipton to boot! I'm getting it!

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  2. There's a newer version out from around 1993 that's supposed to have a lot more collective nouns in it. (The one I read was from 1968.) You'll have to let me know how the updated version is. :)

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  3. A rafter of turkeys? I might never have known.

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  4. I'm all about bringing the arcane to the masses. ;)

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