Flocking birds

Another of these somewhat old-fashioned idioms that are good for your passive vocabulary – good to understand but not necessarily what you would use every day in your conversations with your colleagues, the cashier at Safeway or while getting your nails done.

Sea-gulls flocking together, pic: (c) Tina Baumgartner

The idiom is: “birds of a feather flock together”.  My 6-year old would be very excited now, screaming “it rhymes!”

Rhyming or not, the idiom means that people who have something in common: interests, temperament, taste, education etc. like to hang out together.

This can be good and bad – on the good side members in groups with common interests can be very tight and mutually supportive.  The negative side effects of people who think alike are obvious with groups like the Klu-Klux Klan.

The origin is obvious: birds of a single species do frequently form flocks. Ornithologists explain this behavior as a ‘safety in numbers’ tactic to reduce their risk of being caught by a predator.

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