One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A flock of starlings.
- ‘These displays, known as murmurations, are a frequently observed but little understood phenomenon and can involve up to 3 million birds at a time; a vast squadron of cackling artists picking out geometric symphonies led on by forces we can't even begin to understand.’
- ‘Once a murmuration gets this large, the best way to get rid of them is through a major concerted effort, as officials were doing Monday evening, he said.’
- ‘Many of these, including tiding of magpies, murmuration of starlings, unkindness of ravens, and exaltation of larks, are poetic inventions that one can trace back to the fifteenth century.’
- ‘I mentioned to Bruce that his photo got the old gears turning and he responded by telling me about the " murmurations’ he was watching from his living room in the sky.’
2literary The action of murmuring.‘the murmuration of a flock of warblers’
hum, humming, buzz, buzzing, whir, thrum, thrumming, drone, sighView synonyms
- ‘The way it builds from an initial murmuration of clarinets is not unlike the way Palimpsest I proceeds.’
Late Middle English: from French, from Latin murmuratio(n-), from murmurare ‘to murmur’. The usage as a collective noun dates from the late 15th century.
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