Lucy Vickery

Competition: Show us the darker side of spring (plus: what do you call a group of WAGs?)

Spectator literary competition No. 2839

The recent call to coin collective nouns for tweeters, hackers, hoodies, WAGs, environmentalists, bankers, MPs and contrarians pulled in a record-breaking entry and there were lots of unfamiliar names in the postbag. Inevitably, there was also a fair amount of repetition: nest/cacophony/outrage/triviality of tweeters came up more than once, as did skulk/huggle/scowl of hoodies; bonus/wad/wunch/trough of bankers; knot/perversity/Hitch of contrarians; vacuum/bling/surgery of WAGs; flood of environmentalists; expense of MPs; to list just a few.

I especially liked Graham Peters’s and John Doran’s ‘thong of WAGs’, Sarah Drury’s ‘concatenation of tweeters’, Poppy McLean’s ‘excess of MPs’, Una McMorran’s ‘mischief of contrarians’, Mike Morrison’s ‘Guardian of environmentalists’, P.C. Parrish’s ‘womengerie of WAGs’, J.R. Johnson’s ‘tawd of WAGs’, David Farrant’s ‘rapacity of bankers’, Tracy Davidson’s ‘virus of hackers’, John MacRitchie’s ‘bristle of contrarians’, Patrick Smith’s ‘sorryority of WAGs’ and John O’Byrne’s ‘s-warm of environmentalists’.

Alan Mercado kindly wrote to inform me that the Times published a selection of readers’ collective nouns for politicians a decade or so ago. His own contribution on that occasion was a ‘dissemblance’; others included ‘a prattle’, and an ‘odium’. For the current comp Mr Mercado offered the excellent ‘bimboism of WAGs’.
The winners below nab a very well-deserved £15 each.

Chris O’Carroll
A thumb of tweeters
A murdoch of hackers
A lurk of hoodies
A trophy of WAGs
A panda of environmentalists
A plunder of bankers
An ego of MPs
An ain’t of contrarians







A.G. Atkinson
A WTF of tweeters
An algorithm of hackers
A scapegoat of hoodies
An ogle of WAGs
A hedgerow of environmentalists
A scrounge of bankers
A recidivism of MPs
A versus of contrarians







Francis Harry
A drivel of tweeters
A nerdstorm of hackers
A provocation of hoodies
A spice of WAGs
A frack of environmentalists
A crisis of bankers
A pander of MPs
A gainsay of contrarians







Douglas G. Brown
A tootle of tweeters
A nerditude of hackers
A hoodlummery of hoodies
A catfight of WAGs
A zealotry of environmentalists
A backstabbery of bankers
A blathering of MPs
An apocalypse of contrarians







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