What To Call a Slew of Cowboys


cowboysWhat do you call a group of cowboys? Don’t know? I didn’t either until I read an Exaltation of Larks by James Lipton.

Most of what Lipton calls terms of venery were codified between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries.  I must say our early ancestors sure did have a great sense of humor. Who else could have come up with such delightful terms as a rash of dermatologists, a prickle of porcupines, or transparency of toupees?

So what do you call a slew of cowpokes? Why a saunter of cowboys, of course! Here are some more terms of venery from the Old West. Some you might already know:

A spread of Texans
A drove of cattle
A coalition of miners
A string of ponies.
A quiver of arrows
A trace of bounty hunters
A stud of poker players
A herd of harlots
A streak of gamblers
An obstinacy of buffaloes
A converting of preachers
A hangout of nudists
(Couldn’t resist throwing that one in)


So dear browse of readers,
Some of the more familiar terms that have lasted through the years are den of thieves, flight of stairs and comedy of errors. Can you think of any others? I can’t wait to see your blizzard of quotes.


Doggone Fun!

What would happen if two people unknowingly owned the same dog?

Read Margaret Brownley’s story Dog Days of Summer Bride.





Margaret Brownley
Margaret has published more than 46 books and is a N.Y. Times Bestselling author and two-time Romance Writers of America Rita Finalist. She writes historical novels set--where else?--in the Old West! She has written for a day time soap and is currently working on a new series. Not bad for someone who flunked 8th grade English. Just don't ask her to diagram a sentence.
Updated: August 23, 2015 — 7:43 am


  1. Very fun Margaret! I had no idea about any of these! Love the plays on words…

    For mine– how about a volume of librarians (unofficial of course!)

  2. Kathryn, that’s brilliant! Love it!
    The official venery is shush of librarians.

  3. Margaret, you are too funny. Loved this!

    One of the terms I can’t forget is a murder of crows. It’s not a play on words, but one has to wonder how a group of crows came by that venery. Might be best to avoid those black birds…

    1. Kathleen, according to Lipton that term was found in the earliest of manuscripts as the mursher of crowys. No one knows how those birds came by that venery, but I think I know. Crows have taken over a nearby tree by my house and are making a terrible racket. “A murder of crows” is sounding like a good idea.

  4. Out West, I suppose you’re not too likely to run into a glory of unicorns, but I’ve heard that’s what they’re called.

    1. Hi Rachael, according to Lipton it’s a marvel of unicorns, but I like your term better. Makes me wish I was writing fantasy!

  5. So interetsting. How about a covey of quail and gaggle of geese.

    I’d never thought about this until your post, but the word “covey” is sort of soft and coo’ing, so covey fits. And geese? Yes, gaggle fits perfectly. I really need to be writing, but now I’m wracking my brain trying to come up with the perfect group term for a bunch of authors! lol

    1. Hi Pam, I’ll save you the trouble so you can go back to writing. A bunch of writers is…are you ready? A worship of writers. I had to laugh at that one. Here’s more:
      An advance of authors
      a royalty of best-selling authors
      An enigma of mystery writers
      A bosom of romance writers
      a prescience of science fiction writers

  6. I love this Margaret! If I were reading about a converting of preachers or
    a hangout of nudists, I would definitely have to stop and look that up-right after I quit laughing. I hope the preachers and nudists aren’t offended by these comments.

    1. Hi Rosie, I’m laughing with you.

      I don’t thing those Elizabethans or Victorians worried too much about offending anyone, so I think it’s okay to laugh.

  7. A hangout for nudist had to laugh at that one thanks.

    1. You’re welcome, Kim. I laughed at that one, too.

  8. Margaret, you always write the funniest blogs. I love this one especially. Wow, who knew? A saunter of cowboys really fits though. I’m going to have to remember this. How about this one: A gaggle of gossipers?

    Thanks for the chuckles.

    1. Linda, a gaggle of gossipers is perfect! Want to know what the actual term is?
      A dish of gossips.

  9. In an older book, ‘Adam of the Road,’ we read of a blush of boys and a bevy of girls. I like the first especially.

  10. Hi Darcy, that’s quite charming, but you’d think it would be a blush of girls. In Lipton’s book it’s a goggle of boys and a giggle of girls.

  11. Loved the post today.. I did enjoy all the fun comments!
    hmm .. a bevy of beauties did come to mind… wonder if that would be women or horses??

  12. Hi DK,
    I think it refers to women.

    Oddly enough, bevy is one term of venery that has no known origin, but some hazard to guess that it comes from the French term bevee for a drink or drinking. Maybe every woman looks beautiful when a person is drinking, hence a bevy of beauties. Alcohol might be a better beautifier than Cover Girl.

  13. The first one that I thought of was a murder of crows, but I see Kathleen Rice Adams got that one first. I can see them getting that name from their habit of feeding on carrion. They may not have killed the animal or human, but certainly take advantage of it.
    Of those you listed, I had only heard of six.

    DOG DAYS OF SUMMER BRIDE sounds like it will be a fun read.

    1. Hi Patricia, yes, the crow one does stand out, don’t ask me why. A lot of those were new to me, too.

  14. Margaret, I just love your books. Now I will have to watch for all these combinations.

    1. Whitney, thank you so much! Have a great weekend.

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