192 pages, b/w illustrations
Why are geese in a gaggle? Are crows really murderous? And what makes lions so proud? Collective nouns are one of the most charming oddities of the English language, often with seemingly bizarre connections to the groups they identify. But have you ever stopped to wonder where these peculiar terms actually came from? Most of those found in An Unkindness of Ravens have their origins in the Medieval Books of Courtesy, among the earliest works to be published in this country. Despite originating as a form of social etiquette reserved for the gentry, many of these collective nouns have survived to become a curious feature of today's everyday language.
This absorbing book tells the stories of these evocative phrases, many of which have stood the test of time and are still in use today. Entertaining, informative and fascinating, An Unkindness of Ravens is perfect for any history or language buff.
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Chloe Rhodes is a freelance writer, blogger and author and a regular contributor to various magazines and journals. Chloe has written several books on a wide variety of subjects including food and drink, history and philosophy and family relationships. Her previous works for Michael O'Mara Books include A Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi: Words We Pinched From Other Languages, One For Sorrow ... : A Book of Old-Fashioned Lore and Black Cats and Evil Eyes.