The present collective nouns for a group of baboons – by rights, either a troop or congress – are, it seems, under threat from an interloper to their territory that comes straight from an old episode of Not the Nine O’Clock News. The sketch in question, featuring a talking gorilla called Gerald who rips his captor and teacher to intellectual shreds on a television show (“It’s a whoop, professor, a whoop of gorillas. It’s a flange of baboons”), has proved so popular online that its central gag has merged with serious primatology. The lexicologists at the OED’s Ask Oxford website now cheerfully list “flange” in first place as a collective noun for baboons.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Thagomizer, HSK, quark
At the Telegraph, Tim Martin on some matters of terminology left unplumbed by the excellent-sounding Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction (here is the blog post by author Jeff Prucher that seems to have spurred Martin's piece):