Medical collective nouns

R John H Massie
Med J Aust 2016; 205 (11): . || doi: 10.5694/mja16.01069
Published online: 12 December 2016

An official list from the Society for Advancement of Medical Humour

Everybody loves a good collective noun. Collective nouns often describe a characteristic shared by the individuals in that group (a parliament of owls describing the supposed wisdom of our feathered sages).1,2 Sometimes the origin is more puzzling (a tabernacle of bakers), but they bring colour to our language (an escargatoire of snails).1 Often they are just plain clever (a culture of bacteria).2 Verbs can become nouns (a leap of leopards).1 Alliteration adds literary merit and, if combined with an apt description, can be sublime (an imposition of in-laws).2

  • R John H Massie

  • Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, VIC


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