Tuesday 20 September 2011

A ------ of iPhones

The other day my sister asked what the collective noun should be for iPhones (there was a pile of them on the table), and I couldn't think of one.

Just as there is a pride of lions and a murder of crows, there are all sorts of odd collective nouns hanging around the language - for example a nonethriving of jugglers.

Once*, several British Prime Ministers past and present were gathered together and somebody asked what the collective noun should be for such a meeting. Harold Macmillan suggested that they should be called a lack of principles.

Anyway, if anyone can come up with a collective noun for iPhones, please leave it in the comments. An imaginary prize will be awarded for the best.

Am I doing this right?

*The details of this story vary enormously but they all seem to agree that it was Macmillan who came up with the bon mot.


  1. Well, before cutting a word out of whole cloth, I took a look at extant collective nouns. One can be more or less charitable to the iPhone users…tittering (as of magpies), chattering, or murmuration (as of starlings) reflect what most people do with their iPhones. Likewise busyness (ferrets), pandemonium (parrots), cloud (bats), siege (bitterns), or scourge (mosquitoes) seem apt for their general effect and usage.

    But I think the best nouns I came across were superfluity (as of nuns) and coffle. Coffle is used specifically for a group of asses roped in a line; meet for my purposes.

    That said, I also consulted my iPhone-using brother, who would characterize the phones and their users as cultured, connected, addicted, and otherwise dependent aesthetes. So perhaps an obsession or clutch of iPhones.

    A bunch of different Apple products could be called a bushel.

    On a note related to collective nouns though not iPhones, I found that a number of cobblers together is called a drunkenship. Perhaps you should befriend some cordwainers.

  2. Surely a collection of Apple products should be an orchard?

  3. I propose "midden" -- i.e. a dung-heap of iPhones.

  4. a noise of iphones, or an annoyance of iphones.

  5. The Antipodean, with the disclaimer that myself and my entire immediate family (including in-laws) have iPhones,20 September 2011 at 23:45

    I think if it's going to be pejorative it needs to be specifically pejorative; a midden, a noise or an annoyance could just as easily apply to Blackberries or Nokia or Samsung any other brand you can think of.

    I quite like clutch, but I must say I think coffle is my favourite so far - the roping together of a contrary herd.

    A peck? A pippin? A delicious? A gala?

  6. I think it depends on if your phone is among them. Surely it's either a wephones or a theyphones.