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An embarrassment of baritones

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One under-observed joy of English wordplay is the construction of collective nouns. We’re all familiar with a gaggle of geese, a pride of lions, a flock of seagulls. Word-fans seeking a pleasant discussion of collective nouns should look for James Lipton’s An Exaltation of Larks, which lists hundreds of terms of venery, including a murder of crows, a parliament of owls, a slouch of supermodels, a score of bachelors and so forth.

Let’s try this with common barbershop terms. There’s a chorus of singers, of course, and also…

  • an embarrassment of baritones
  • a wave of chorus directors
  • a bank of treasurers
  • a huddle of judges
  • a confusion of leads
  • a bray of baritones
  • a shimmer of tenors
  • a polish of coaches
  • a rumble of basses
  • a giggle of writers
  • a clutch of barbershop spouses 

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