Collective noun for a group of technical writers

This week a colleague, Tom, came up to me with a big grin and asked, “What’s the collective noun for a group of technical writers?”

He had another developer in tow, a new starter at that, and the grin made me wonder what mischief lay behind the question. 😉 But it’s a goody and it made me laugh. I came up with “a scribble of technical writers“. Later, it occurred to me that we could call a group of agile technical writers a “jot“.

Can you think of any good names for us and for what happens when we get together in a group?


About Sarah Maddox

Technical writer, author and blogger in Sydney

Posted on 23 January 2010, in bits n bobs, humour, technical writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.

  1. Nothing sinister — I just can’t help grinning whenever I think of our wonderful technical writers.

    What about an illumination of technical writers? Or am I thinking of monks?

  2. An illumination — I like it!

    Two other suggestions have come in via Twitter:
    * A gaggle — hmm, not sure I like that one!
    * A stet — I think I prefer a “to boldly go”. 😉

    Keep ’em coming. I’m looking for the nirvana of nouns!

  3. Technical writers are introverts. You never find them in groups. Just kidding!

    I think “scribble” and “jot” are great. I’ve already started looking for opportunities to use them in casual conversation.

  4. A logos of technical writers.

    logos = “The divine wisdom manifest in the creation…” (Merriam-Webster)

    and even more germaine (in the same definition): “…the controlling principle in the universe.”

    Hey, they said it – not me.

    • Uh, that would be “germane,” not “germaine.”

      • I’m sure she wouldn’t mind being part of this illustrious and erudite chain of comments. 😉

        A logos of technical writers — oh yes, we rule! After all, where would the universe be without us?

  5. Two more suggestions came in via FaceBook:
    * A murder — ooh, that does ring true sometimes!
    * A nerdster — I’m not so sure about that one.

  6. A scrabble of technical writers (not a scribble) got the vote where I work.

    Or how about a guide of technical writers?

    • Hallo Nicole

      Heh, word games, we do love playing them. This blog post demonstrates that too! So “scrabble” is a goody.

      Your suggestion of a “guide” led me to think of a sherpa, and that led me to think of a gompa. How about “a gompa of technical writers”? 😉

  7. a chapter of technical writers?

  8. Keith Thompson

    How about a “use case” of technical writers?

    • Ah, the connotations, the connotations. We could be referring to our knowledge of business analysis and software design. Or we could represent a specific use case to others, such as the way technical writers use a wiki. Or we could mean our infatuation with getting the upper and lower case just right. For me, the phrase “use case” instantly brought another one to mind: “head case”. Ha ha, I’ve heard that one applied to us too.

  9. That’s simple — “Toga Party!”

  10. Personally, I like a “cloud” of technical writers…

    • That’s a lovely one. It’s one of those that brings several connotations too. Technical writers “in the cloud”, because many of us are writing on the web. Or tag clouds, calling to mind our metadata know-how. Or perhaps a thunderstorm of technical writers, when a document just won’t go right.

      • How about a “guild” of technical writers

      • I like “guild”. Heh heh, when your comment rolled into my email inbox, the first word I saw was “mirage” and I thought, “a mirage of technical writers”, that’s kind of cool.

  11. A pen of technical writers?

  12. How about a “critical mass” of technical writers?

    Or a “stickler” of technical writers?

    • “A critical mass of technical writers”. Ha ha, that’s awesome. We do have a bit of a reputation for being critical, don’t we? I wonder how many of us it takes to reach critical mass. Perhaps that’s something to test on the next doc sprint or tech comms conference!

  13. Another comment came in via Twitter yesterday: someone suggested “a pedant” of technical writers. That word bothers me, and not only because it’s unkind and patently unfitting. 😉 I think that it doesn’t fit semantically either, and I was trying to define why not. I’ve decided it’s because the word “pedant” defines a type of person, and as such just doesn’t work as a collective noun. If that’s so, then you can’t say “a genius of technical writers” either.

  14. what is the collective name for authors

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