Welcome to the website woven for wordaholics, logolepts, and verbivores. Carnivores eat meat; herbivores eat plants and vegetables; verbivores devour words. If you are heels over head (as well as head over heels) in love with words, tarry here a while to graze or, perhaps, feast on the English language. Ours is the only language in which you drive in a parkway and park in a driveway and your nose can run and your feet can smell.

You know that a bunch of sheep crowded together is a flock, a group of antelope loping together is a herd, a cluster of fish swimming together is a school and a crowd of bees buzzing together is a swarm. But have you ever heard of a crash of rhinoceroses, a cowardice of curs, a labor of moles, a clowder of cats, a drove of kine, a covert of coots, a kindle of kittens, a gam of whales, a bale of turtles or a knot of frogs?

Most of these collective nouns evolved during the Middle Ages, when the sophisticated art of hunting demanded an equally sophisticated vocabulary to name the objects of the chase. Ever since God commanded Adam to name all the creatures that run and fly and swim, crawl and burrow above, upon and under the earth, we humans have been relentless in categorizing those creatures in clusters.

Honoring this centennial year of the founding and incorporation of our world-famous San Diego Zoo, I offer a beastly disquisition that I call “Name That Bunch.” Here are group nouns for 25 different animals, most of them featured at our zoo and Safari Park:

a barren of mules, a bloat of hippos, a business of ferrets, a caravan of camels, a cete of badgers,
a coalition of cheetahs, a dazzle of zebras, a dray of squirrels, a leap of leopards, a memory of elephants
a mischief of mice, an obstinacy of buffalo, a pace of asses, a pod of seals, a pride of lions
a route of wolves, a shrewdness of apes, a singular of boars, a skulk of foxes, a sleuth of bears
a sounder of swine, a tower of giraffes, a trip of goats, a troop of monkeys, a warren of rabbits

Now here’s a flight of 30 avian assemblages, a groupie list that’s truly for the birds:

a cast of hawks, a charm of finches, a congregation of plovers, a convocation of eagles, a covey of quail
a descent of woodpeckers, an exaltation of larks, a flush of mallards, a gaggle of geese, a huddle of penguins
a murder of crows, a murmuration of starlings, a muster of storks, a nye of pheasants, an ostentation of peacocks
a paddling of ducks, a pandemonium of parrots, a parliament of owls, a piteousness of doves, a plump of wildfowl
a rafter of turkeys, a scold of jays, a siege of herons, a stand of flamingos, a tidings of magpies
a ubiquity of sparrows, an unkindness of ravens, a wake of buzzards, a watch of nightingales, a wedge of swans (when flying in a V formation)

I invite you to become a groupie. For fun, make up your own collective nouns for animals or for people – a prickle of porcupines, an aroma of skunks, a rash of dermatologists, a brace of orthodontists, a concentration of geniuses. Send your creations to me at richardhlederer@gmail.com, and I’ll publish the best of them in a future column.

Melania Trump’s testimonial for husband Donald at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland created considerable controversy. Turns out that 58 words from Mrs. Trump’s speech were almost identical to passages in Michelle Obama’s plug for her husband, Barack, eight years earlier at the DNC. As a result, accusations of plagiarism twisted like tornadoes boring into the political landscape. The word plagiarism descends from the Latin plagiarius, which means “plunderer, kidnapper.” Strong words indeed.

Someone has recently created a Twitter account, over_morethan, dedicated to the proposition that the preposition over may not be used with numbers, as in “The Union-Tribune has over a million readers.”

Balderdash! Fiddlesticks! Flapdoodle! Hogwash! Hooey! Twaddle! More than and over have been interchangeably used with numbers for over (ahem!) 600 years. To the creator of over_morethan I riposte, “Your restriction of the scope of over will become a rule more than my dead body!”

The Internet just got smaller. It’s now internet, with no capital I. The announcement came from Thomas Kent, the Associated Press’ standards editor, who explained that “the change mirrors the way the word is used in dictionaries, newspapers, tech publications and everyday life . . . In our view, it’s become wholly generic, like electricity or the telephone. It was never trademarked. It’s not based on any proper noun. The best reason for capitalizing it in the past may have been that the word was new. At one point, I’ve heard, phonograph was capitalized.”