Wednesday, May 14, 2008

What the Flock!

Today I wasted way too much time searching the Internet.
It began when I received an e-mail commenting about my fear of giraffes. The reader assured me they were harmless, social animals. It was also mentioned that they travel in herds. That got me thinking about the word “herd”.
Come along for another ride on My Brain Train.
(Click.) Animals that travel in herds are called “Ungulates” (hoofed animals).
Some examples are horses, sheep, scary giraffes and buffalo.
So, what about the hoof less animals: how do they roll? (Click.)
The first thing that popped into my brain was a “gander”, which I thought was a group of gooses. After I took a “gander” I learned that a “gander’ is a male goose and more than one is actually called “geese” and they travel in “flocks”.
Furthermore, a “flock” of “geese” is called a “gaggle” and a “gaggle” of “geese” in flight is called a “flight”. Someone was real creative with that one.
But wait! The “flight” or “gaggle” or “flock” of “geese” is also called a “skein”.
(Click.) And if that isn’t enough …
A “flock” or “gaggle” of “geese” can also be called a “herd”. ”That’s right, they ain’t got no hooves!” and they can still be a “herd”. Now before you say ”Joe, what the flock!”, let me try to explain.
When a “flock” or “gaggle” of “geese” are not officially a “flight”, meaning, of course, that they are not in flight, and they are congregated on the ground, if they are guided, let’s say, across the road to keep them out of danger, then they are being herded and qualify as being a “herd”. If they are herded a long distance, say, across town, then they become a “drove” because they are being driven even though they never got into a car!
Remember, you “herd” … oops … “heard” it here on My Brain Train!