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Who Coined the Word “Fluffle” to Refer to a Group of Rabbits?

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Van from Washington, D.C., is curious about the word fluffle, which supposedly denotes “a group of bunnies.” A friend of hers claimed to have coined this collective noun for lagomorphs along with friends at the University of Alberta in Canada some 10 to 15 years ago and inserted it into Wikipedia on a lark. Could that be true? Linguist Ben Zimmer researched this question, and reported his findings to the listserv of the American Dialect Society. Fluffle indeed appears to have been added to the online encyclopedia in July 2007, where it was defined as “a group of rabbits or hares is called a fluffle in parts of Northern Canada.” So it’s possible that her friend’s story is true. At this point, at least, there’s no evidence to the contrary. This is part of a complete episode.

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