Why is there the collective noun “an observance” for hermits when they live alone?

Philip Newton gives two thirds of the answer. The remaining third is, why choose the word “observance” in particular.

The reason is given in the 1702 dictionary that the collective noun was fished out of, as cited here: Unkindness of Ravens. You get a bunch of hermits hanging out together, because they all belong to the same monastic order; that is to say, they observe the same monastic rule.

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