"A crocodile of youngsters"

I encountered this phrase in a BBC article today, and can honestly say I’ve never heard it before. Is this a common idiom? A Britishism? I presume “crocodile” in this case is the collective noun akin to pack, parliament, murder, etc.

It’s a Britishism for a line of people (usually kids) walking in pairs.

With a teacher, or other chaperone, in front, and another behind.

Do the Americans have a word for it?

Well if it really means an ordered line that walks in pairs then I doubt we have a word for that. We’re not nearly that organized!

I’ve heard it called a Walking Bus here.

Crocodile line.

That’s actually really cute. Evocative.


Link is broken, for me at least.

The link works for me, but here’s the page.

Closest I remember from childhood (1950’s-60’s) was “Buddy System” - each child was assigned a partner and was to keep an eye on him. It had nothing to do with one’s social group - you were assigned a partner and that was that.

Sometimes, hand-holding, but not necessarily.
This was used for any out-of-school trips, even museums and such.

In elementary school we would form a double line, with girls in size order making up one line and boys in size order the other.

It’s actually a really useful term - '“make a crocodile!” is a simple, short, unambiguous term, and it sounds like it’s fun. Kids only have to learn it once, then it sticks. Junior school kids respond well to that sort of thing. ‘Circle time’ is sort of similar in simplicity and utility.

We also use the term in our Medieval Dance classes, for a line of couples all holding hands, as in a pavane

I read a children’s book (On Your Toes, Susie! by Lee Wyndham) in which a girl from Paris describes walking with her class there like a “crocodile”. I’d always thought she was making a mistake, and meant to say “snake”, but she would have learned British English in school.