What is a group of unicorns called? It’s as supremely glittery as you imagine…
A shrewdness of apes, a gang of buffalo, a pandemonium of parrots… those who developed the English language have certainly managed to have some fun along the way.
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Collective nouns for animals are often bestowed according to how the creature behaves or from fanciful poetic language, which is often unexplained.
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The Oxford English Dictionary suggests whether a term makes the cut or not can be as much about how a term is used and accepted than specific grammatical rules.
So in light of that – what’s the name for a group of unicorns?
What is a group of unicorns called?
Ahh, really? Yes. The term most commonly used and accepted for a group of unicorns seems to be a blessing of unicorns.
Lacking any specimens to guide us to a reliable taxonomical term, the origins are rooted in literature and fables.
Impossible to catch, it’s said a unicorn can only be seen by the virtuous. So to see one unicorn would be exotic, to see a group would have to be a blessing.
In the same spirit, NBC comic Andy Erikson ponders whether a unicorn foal is a ‘sparkle’ or a ‘shimmer’.
A baby unicorn is called a "sparkle" or a "shimmer." https://t.co/0CWhvRV9it— Andy Erikson (
andyerikson) October 17, 2015
A ‘glory’ or a Marvel action hero?
Another term also used in the outer reaches of literature and the internet is a ‘glory’. A collection of unicorn tales by Bruce Colville is entitled A Glory Of Unicorns.
Grammar website collectivenounslist.com suggests a ‘marvel’ is also acceptable, although this might be confusion in response to Marvel character Unicorn since it seems otherwise rare, even if fitting.
When it comes to the world of finance, the use of the term unicorn was coined by venture capitalist Aileen Lee to refer to that rare thing of a privately held startup company valued at more than $1 billion despite not being floated on the stock market.
Rather than a group, these unicorns seem to prefer being individuals.
Or… a ‘crash’ of unicorns?
The unicorn is presumably related to the monoceros, a Greek mythical creature, although Roman author Pliny speculated this particular entity would have elephant feet.
It could be argued that unicorns once roamed the earth – well, part of the Pavlodar region of Kazakhstan at least.
Research published in 2015 described elasmotherium sibiricum, also known as the ‘Siberian unicorn’. They were mammoth-sized, thick-haired, and very heavy-set.
They were related to the rhinoceros but with longer legs, ideal for galloping. There’s an artist’s impression here if you really want to disrupt your sense of what a unicorn is.
Perhaps not quite the magical being you’d want to see dancing across a rainbow or through an enchanted forest.
How about a ‘herd’ or a ‘crash’?
But if we accept a genetic link, we might have to say a group of unicorns is called a herd or, also in line with rhinoceroses, a crash.
Somehow this isn’t as idyllic a picture, bringing to mind not-so-majestic creatures rampaging through your house and then refusing to leave.
That’s not what we expect from a classic unicorn, which should be all rainbow hair and sparkling hooves – which is probably why the generally accepted term remains a blessing.
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