A murder!

Today’s Pearls Before Swine has Pig coping badly with a term of venery:

If only Pig had chosen to report “Crows have been murdered” or “Someone’s been murdering crows”!  Instead, Pig used the noun murder with of crows as its complement, and ran afoul of an ambiguity in the result: murder is also a term of venery, a collective noun specific to a particular group (in this case, crows); some discussion here.

(Bonus: in writing about fur-bearing animals this morning, I came across the fact that a group of ferrets is a business: a business of ferrets.)

2 Responses to “A murder!”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    Between being amused by “a business of ferrets” and only discovering from your previous post that stoats were ermines, I can’t stop thinking about _The Wind in the Willows_.

  2. On the verge of a collective | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] a memorable example of a term of venery; there is a more extensive discussion of the expression in this posting, on a Pearls Before Swine cartoon that turns on the ambiguity of the […]

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