Bevy

A bevy of ladies. A throng or company; properly applied to roebucks, quails, and pheasants. Timid gregarious animals, in self-defence, go down to a river to drink in bevies or small companies. Ladies, from their timidity, are placed in the same category (Italian, bevere, to drink).

“And upon her deck what a bevy of human flowers- young women, how lovely!- young men, how noble!” —De Quincey: Dream-fugue.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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