herd/flock of pigs

weefoot

Senior Member
France French
English speakers, which one would you use for a group of pigs ? a herd of pigs or a flock of pigs (not from the same litter) ?
Thank you for any help !
 
  • constantlyconfused

    Senior Member
    English - British
    a herd of cows, a flock of sheep, but I couldn't think of the name for a group of pigs.Google tells me:

    "The name for a group of pigs depends on the animals' ages. A group of young pigs is called a drift, drove or litter. Groups of older pigs are called a sounder of swine, a team or passel of hogs or a singular of boars."
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    a herd of cows, a flock of sheep, but I couldn't think of the name for a group of pigs.Google tells me:

    "The name for a group of pigs depends on the animals' ages. A group of young pigs is called a drift, drove or litter. Groups of older pigs are called a sounder of swine, a team or passel of hogs or a singular of boars."
    I've heard of a litter of pigs, but I've never seen sounder, team, passel or singular!

    In the story of demons cast into pigs, all English Bible translations say 'a herd of pigs/swine' (Matthew 8:30).
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    The list referred to in #3 is quite fascinating, but not terribly reliable. This is not surprising, given its date of first compilation. Out of the first fifty words on the list, I think only about ten are in common use. The only very common ones are flock for birds and sheep, herd for other farm animals (including your pigs), pack for canines and swarm for insects.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    My understanding is that pigs will eat anything, including human corpses and pig remains! Cannibals!
    They are omnivorous scavengers, like the shoals of herring in the northern seas.

    In my time, junior school children spent hours learning the special terms for male, female, group, and offspring. We learnt the names for the various sounds they make too.

    A 'herd of pigs' sounds as correct as a 'flock of pigs' sounds seriously wrong.
     
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    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    In my time, junior school children spent hours learning about special terms for male, female, group, and offspring. We learnt the names for the various sounds they make too.
    Indeed. This memory came back to me too.
    Along with the irreverent thought that I don’t recall ever hearing very many of these oddities for groups actually used, and maybe the whole list was a Lear-esque invention to give weary primary school teachers a few easy lessons?
    Honestly, beyond flock, herd or shoal/school are any of these other options living breathing in the «real world»?
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    A very few come to mind, like 'pod' of dolphins or 'skein' of flying geese. I don't even know what a 'dunlin' is, perhaps a sort of bird, but a 'tok of capercaillie'? My husband says he doesn't know what they are. I think they are very big birds a bit like turkeys that were extinct but recently re-introduced from Hungary to breed in the UK, but maybe I just imagined that.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    If pigs could fly, I might imagine "a flock of pigs".

    Edit: I agree that "flock" is an unsuitable term for a group of pigs. I would go with "herd", though it seems strange to me as I've only ever seen families or small groups of them.
    Google Ngram Viewer

    The Ngram shows that, until the 20th century, "a drove of pigs" was quite popular.
     
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    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    It is a herd!

    From the Magazine “Farming Scotland” January 2010 at p.8
    Issue 61
    It’s not often I can say I would like to change places with a pig, but after visiting the Clash herd of Saddlebacks in Port Logan, I would definitely change places any day. Not only are they living in the most stunning location, with the Irish Sea only yards away on one side, and the wild Scottish countryside on the other, but if their glossy coats and contented grunts are anything to go by, they lead a pretty stress free life as well.
     

    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    I haven't consulted the list in the link in #3, but I've heard many expressions which are used for groups of different animals. I too thought of the reference to the Gadarene swine in the N.T. (New Testament), so I'd say a 'herd' of pigs.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Honestly, beyond flock, herd or shoal/school are any of these other options living breathing in the «real world»?
    The common ones are a pride of lions, a troop of monkeys, a gaggle of walking geese and, most famously, a flange of baboons:
    Endpaper From the Daily Telegraph
    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
     
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