An Apprehension of Rabbits
Today marks the anniversary of the birth of the fourteenth century monk St Thomas Aplenty, originator of over six hundred collective nouns. If you have ever used phrases such as 'a pride of lions', 'a gaggle of geese' or 'a packet of crisps', then you have much to thank St Thomas for. Most of this venerable linguistic pioneer's work has, sadly, fallen out of use, meaning that today we rarely hear expressions such as 'a briefcase of parrots', 'a disappointment of anglers' or 'a load of cobblers'.
It's equally lamentable that St Thomas's contribution to the English language was not recognised within his own lifetime. In fact, he led a somewhat wretched existence which was tragically cut short at the age of thirty-three when, during a stroll through the grounds of the monastery, he was startled by a bucket of ravens, pursued by an invoice of frogs and ultimately torn to pieces by an apprehension of rabbits.