Revel in this trove of nine enchantingly fanciful and marine-based collective nouns, including the charmingly named smack of jellyfish.

Over 500 years ago, Dame Juliana Berners, a noblewoman and the prioress of the Sopwell Nunnery in England, published a collection of advice on fishing, hawking, hunting and heraldry. Named the “Book of St. Albans,” this curious volume also contained a trove of strange and humorous descriptions of noun groups. Some of these collective nouns attained widespread acceptance such as a “flight of stairs” and a “school of fish.” Over time, additional terms caught on while some remained a joke or were rarely used, e.g. a “nutcluster of dugongs” or “host of angelfish.” One of our favorites appears in the title to this article — a smack of jellyfish.

Referring to the animal’s behavior or the poetic images conjured from the humans observing them, the list below of nine marine-based collective nouns remains enchantingly fanciful (and more or less officially sanctioned). So, next time you’re on a dive boat, surprise and impress your buddies by referring to the animals you see with the below terms.

  1. A battery of barracuda
  2. A party of rainbow fish
  3. A glide or squadron of flying fish
  4. A fluther or smack of jellyfish
  5. A turmoil of porpoises (far more delightful than the common alliteration, “pod of porpoises”)

Video by ScubaLuis.com

  1. A fever of stingrays (which includes any of the stingray family, such as eagle rays and butterfly rays)
  2. A risk of lobsters
  3. A flotilla of swordfish
  4. A shiver or slew of sharks (more bloodcurdling than the ordinary “school of sharks”)

Bonus fact:

Often used interchangeably, a “shoal of fish” and a “school of fish” represent distinct activities. A shoal of fish congregates together socially to benefit from safety in numbers, but each does as it pleases. A school of fish coordinates their behavior and maneuvers as one, such as when they swim tightly together or rapidly alter direction in unison.

Have something to add to this post? Share it in the comments.
New stuff

Swimwear Recycled from the Sea

Fourth Element introduces OceanPositive 2017 swimwear collection, made from recycled ghost fishing nets.
by Press Release

The Wakatobi Resort Conservation Model

Wakatobi Resort in Sulawesi, Indonesia, is dedicated to preserving the marine environment with the buy-in and participation of locals.
by Guest Author
Ocean Cleanup Array

Ocean Cleanup Array Still in Testing Phase

Inventor Boyan Slat made a splash when he introduced his Ocean Cleanup Array. Plans to launch a test unit were pushed from 2016 to the end of this year off the American west coast.
by Thomas Gronfeldt
Minke

Minke Magic with Mike Ball Dive Expeditions

Dwarf minke whales are seasonal visitors each winter on the northern Great Barrier Reef. Get up close and personal with Mike Ball Dive Expeditions.
by Guest Author