In Season 4, episode 7, as the ladies of Downton watch Tony Gillingham, Evelyn Napier and Charles Blake depart together,
Lady Cora: "I'm sorry to see them go."
Rose: "Not as sorry as Mary. What's a group noun for suitors?"
Cora: "What do you think? A desire?"
Rosamund: "A desire of suitors. Very good."
While the phrase "venereal terms" might conjure unsavory images of STD break-out cycles, it is—quite mercifully—unrelated. Derived not from the Roman goddess of love (Venus, Vener-) but through Old French venerie from Latin venāri "to hunt," terms of venery or "nouns of assembly" became a fashion in Late Medieval England and France for consciously innovating words to describe collective groups of game animals. The tradition was so popular it quickly became a kind of word game, both a way to demonstrate individual wit in coining new terms and a shibboleth for aristocratic ...Read more