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Billy Quizboy: It's out! I did it! So, am I part of the Triad?
The Alchemist: Triad implies three, so...
Billy Quizboy: All right, then you guys have to pay my rather steep fee...
The Alchemist: Welcome to the mystical Order of the Triad, Special Brother Billy!
The Venture Bros., "The Better Man"

Just like a person has a name (sometimes more), most groups also have a name. This name may come from different sources, such as the founder's own name, an acronym of the members' names, a random thing you just happen to see, or a random cool-sounding foreign word. One popular method is to name the team after the number of members.

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We can expect that the Furious Five will have five members, and the Three Templars to have three members. After all, it's outright said in the name, right? Not always. These groups often have one extra member in them.

The reason why this one member is excluded from the team naming varies. It might be because they're supposed to be a secret member nobody is supposed to know, or that their task is different than the other members, or they're another member's twin, or it's just for the lulz, or they just signed on late and it is just too much trouble to change the name to reflect the current configuration.

A Sub-Trope to Non-Indicative Name. If applied to elements, see Element #5.


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Examples:

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     Anime and Manga  

  • Witches 5 in the third season of Sailor Moon actually has six members. However, Cyprine and Ptilol are really the same person manifesting in two different bodies, so it's justified.
  • Played for Laughs in Cromartie High School. The Four Great Ones are the supreme rulers of the second years, but they have a big problem that troubles them all: there are five of them.
  • In Naruto:
    • The "Sound Five" actually counts Sakon and Ukon as one person, instead of making it the Sound Six. The same goes for the "Sound Four," which is what the group is called after Kimimaro stops being an active member due to his illness.
    • As the name suggests, Rikudo Pain is a collective of six bodies representing six paths, but the vital aspect of the jutsu is the seventh path, who controls the other six paths, and is the actual controller of the bodies.
  • Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo has the Battleship Five Quartet. It has six members.
  • Fairy Tail
    • One of the villainous is the Oracion Seis ("six prayers"), made up of six very powerful mages. There is also the seventh member, Klodoa, who is Brain's talking staff. Also depending on how you see it, Brain's Superpowered Even More Evil Side Zero may count as the eighth member. Lampshaded in the anime.
    • In the anime-only arc "Key to the Starry Skies", the Neo Oracion Seis (made of up of many of the same members of the original that escaped prison) are also made up of six powerful mages. One of these members, Jackpot, is eventually revealed to be Klodoa again, who still calls himself the Neo Oracion Seis's seventh member, which sets up The Reveal of the true sixth member of the group being the innocent and helpful Michelle Lobster, actually Imitatia.
    • The Golden Keys of the Zodiac represent and summon the twelve Celestial Spirits based on the Western Zodiac. It's later revealed there is a thirteenth Key which summons Ophiuchus the Serpent Bearer, who is the most powerful of the Golden Spirits and second in power only to the Celestial Spirit King himself.
  • In Yu Yu Hakusho, there are the Sensui Seven, with the eight member Shinobu Sensui as the leader. The seven subordinates have the Seven Deadly Sins theme, so do Sensui's six other personalities.
  • In Beelzebub, there is the Behemoth's 34 Pillar Division... which consists of 397 members! The number 34 comes from the 10 Pillar Barons and the 24 Pillar Generals. However, the leader Jabberwock is not included in the name, and Behemoth himself is not even a part of the division.
  • In Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers, the Braves of the Six Flowers are to gather at a point and go to defeat the Demon God, but seven Braves show up instead of six. This causes them to fight amongst themselves to see who the extra hero is, assuming that person must be there to sabotage them.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's: Team 5D's is named after their five Signer Dragons and has seven members. And a sixth Signer Dragon is revealed in a later arc.
  • So far, it's inverted in Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V. Despite the series' title has the Roman number V (5) in its title, the plot focuses on four dimensions, four boys with identical faces and their four dragons, and four girls with identical faces and their four bracelets.
  • The only two sequel seasons in the Pretty Cure franchise, Futari wa Pretty Cure Max Heart and Yes! Pretty Cure 5 GoGo!, added a Sixth Ranger to their respective teams who weren’t officially classified as Cures because it would have contradicted the headcount in the titlesnote . Subsequent seasons would forego the numbering in the titles so they could add new Sixth Rangers during the story without hassle.

     Comic Books  

  • The original Seven Soldiers were Green Arrow and Speedy, Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy, Vigilante, Shining Knight, and the Crimson Avenger and Wing. Wing, the Avenger's sidekick/chauffeur, was the "unofficial eighth soldier", even though there were two sidekicks as full members. When Green Arrow was removed from the line-up Post-Crisis, and replaced with the sidekickless Alias the Spider, Vigilante's sidekick Stuff, the Chinatown Kid was added, so Wing was still the unofficial eighth soldier.
  • Although the original Sinister Six had six members, the all-new Sinister Six in The Superior Foes of Spider-Man consists of: Boomerang, Shocker, Speed Demon, Beetle and Overdrive. The number tends to dwindle more as the story goes on.
  • The Secret Six pull a Lampshade Hanging on this trope while filming a commercial for their services when it's pointed out that there are currently 8 of them and so the name makes no sense. Typically the team has between 6 and 7 members depending on the story arc.
  • There have been multiple times when the Fantastic Four have had five members without changing the name or logo (even though "Fantastic Five" works just as well).

     Film  

  • The Three Stooges — there were actually 6 of them, though only 3 in any given short. (Larry, Moe, Curly, Shemp, Curly Joe, and Joe)

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     Literature  

  • There are actually four musketeers in The Three Musketeers: d'Artagnan becomes one pretty early in the story, albeit assigned to a company different from the other three.
  • The Slaughterhouse Nine in Worm will always be the Nine, no matter how few or many members there actually are at any given time.
  • In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the Goblet selects Harry Potter as a fourth participant in the Triwizard Tournament. Everyone has to go along with it because the Goblet's choice is apparently binding, even though Harry didn't enter his own name and someone else seems to have rigged the selection. As with a lot of the Potterverse's magic, the book doesn't go into that much detail on how the Goblet itself works, but at least The Reveal at the end spells out who rigged it and why.
  • Overlord: Played With by the group of YGGDRASIL players called "Nine's Own Goal". They originally called themselves that because they had nine members and performed suicidal actions (being an all-monster group that regularly adventured in human lands), but continued to do so even as their numbers grew. By the time they established a formal guild, they knew the name made no sense but were too attached to it to throw it out completely, so they opted to corrupt it into the meaningless "Ainz Ooal Gown".

     Live-Action TV  

  • On The Late Show with David Letterman's "Small Town News" segment, one of Dave's self-described favorite categories of news is things like "Classical Trio performs" with a picture of 4-6 members.
  • Inverted. Blake's 7 never had more than six human members. You had to include one or more of their sentient computers to bring the group up to seven.
  • Although Kamen Rider hasn't used numbers in team names, the series has twice made a big deal of villain groups with a specific number of members, only to reveal additional members later:
    • Kamen Rider Blade has 52 Undead, each one corresponding to a playing card rank. Unfortunately, the Joker - or rather, multiple Jokers - are also in play.
    • In Kamen Rider Drive, the villains are Roidmudes numbered from one to 108. One of the key players in the conflict is No. 000, the Roidmude prototype.
  • Doctor Who arguably falls under this trope when counting off regenerations of the Doctor, because two of them didn't increase the sequential numbering. "Journey's End" has the Tenth Doctor regenerate into himself, and "The Name of the Doctor" reveals a previously unknown and unnumbered incarnation known as the War Doctor, who existed between the Eighth and Ninth Doctors. As a result, the Eleventh Doctor was on his twelfth face and thirteenth life. The Doctor continues regenerating and reaches the Thirteenth Doctor, and this is where things get very messy. An unrecognizable new incarnation who claims to be from the Doctor's past appears, and then the story of the Timeless Child is unveiled and may signify an indiscriminate amount of past lives predating the First Doctor have existed. Then there's the anomalies like the Watcher and the Valeyard and the Meta-Crisis Tenth Doctor, as well as an unseen incarnation who was impersonating Merlin and another incarnation called The Other or The Stranger who may have been responsible for cultivating Time Lord society and its technologies along with helpers Omega and Rassilon. Finally, we have an apparent incarnation awaiting the Doctor's life in the far future called the Curator, a retired Doctor with the face of his fourth incarnation, only elderly.
  • The Rowdy Three of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency consists of four members - they were originally captured as a group of three, but Blackwing later added Vogel to their group because of his similar power set. With the addition of Amanda and Beast, they have a total of six members by the end of season 2, but still keep the name.
  • Uchu Sentai Kyuranger. "Kyu" can have multiple meanings in context, but one of them is "nine" and the team originally had nine members. When the team's commander becomes a Ranger himself, he tries to update the team name to ten as "Jyuranger" but the rest of the team shoots him down (as a Mythology Gag to the fact that that name was taken already). By the end of the show, the "Ninerangers" have twelve members.

     Music  

  • The Grammy-Award-winning Girl Group Salt-n-Pepa consisted of Salt, Pepa, and DJ Spindarella.
  • Similarly, Run–D.M.C. constisted of Run, DMC, and Jam Master Jay.
  • The band "The 4 of Us" has had five members at some points in its history.
  • Inverted by Ben Folds Five, a group with 3 members.
  • The Thompson Twins, a British New Wave pop band, had three members at the height of their success, and as many as seven in some years.
  • The pop band Maroon 5 now has 6 members.
  • The late 30s band, the Raymond Scott Quintette had six members.

     Mythology and Religion  

  • The Four Gods in Chinese Mythology actually has five divine beasts. The fifth one is Huang Long, the Yellow Dragon that governs the element of Earth and the direction of center. He's absent in the Japanese version, where the center is associated with void instead.

     Professional Wrestling  

  • While on TNA Impact, Ric Flair decided to form a group in the vein of the Four Horsemen out of the TNA guys called Fourtune. Thing was, there were six members... eventually they renamed the group Fortune.

     Radio  

  • Opie & Anthony: And Jim Norton, who's been an official co-star of the show since 2002, but he's cool with the name staying The Opie & Anthony Show.

     Sports  

  • When the Big Ten Conference of the NCAA added Penn State as a member in the 1990s, they became a group of 11 schools rather than 10 (the logo they adopted after Penn State joined acknowledged this with an "11" hidden in the negative space under the arms of the T in "Ten"). The University of Nebraska became their 12th member in 2011, and in 2014 it expanded further with Rutgers and the University of Maryland—but they are still called the Big Ten.
    • And the Big 12 Conference currently has... 10 member schools. However, the Big 12 was founded by 12 schools, and stayed at that number before Colorado and Nebraska left in 2011.
    • The Atlantic 10 Conference has an ever-changing number of teams other than ten.note 
    • The Pac-12 Conference is an aversion, as it's able to change its name whenever it gets new members. It was the first the Pacific-8 when it only consisted of schools in California, Oregon, and Washington, changed to Pacific-10 upon getting Arizona and Arizona State, and changed to its current moniker (officially replacing "Pacific" with "Pac") with the additions of the University of Colorado and the University of Utah in 2011.

     Video Games  

  • Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days introduces Xion, the fourteenth member of Organization XIII. She isn't actually a member. She's not even a Nobody, just a manifestation of Sora's memories. By the end of the game, she was Ret-Gone'd from everyone's memories.
  • The Septentriones (septem = seven) in Devil Survivor 2. There are eight of them. The eighth one, Alcor, is the only one not presented as a mindless abomination. He is the true identity of the Anguished One. He is the one that created Nicaea so that humanity can fight their fate of being erased from existence. In one of the routes, he even becomes a party member. In the Updated Re-release's new scenario, the Triangulum likewise have four members, with the fourth, Cor Caroli, turning against her fellows and creator to protect mankind.
  • In EarthBound, the Runaway Five apparently consists of six members onstage, though there are only five of them when you speak with them backstage. Averted in the original Japanese, where they were the non-numerical Tonzura Brothers.
  • Famously in Pokémon with the Elite Four. In the original release, the player completed the gauntlet only to have a sequential battle with their rival at the end. In every following generation, they're still referred to as Four though the title excludes the League Champion, whom the player will face immediately after as the ''True'' Final Boss.

     Western Animation  

  • The Hive Five in Teen Titans have six members. Lampshaded by Kid Flash.
  • A Popeye cartoon "Jeopardy Sheriff" in which Popeye starts to read Swee'Pee the story of the Three Bears: Moe, Sam, Lefty, and George. Also referred to as "The three bears of which there were four".

     Real Life  

  • The Pleiades Star Cluster are named after the seven Pleiades sisters from Classical Mythology. However, there are actually nine bright stars in the cluster (the other two are named after their parents, Atlas and Plione). What's more, the star Sterope is actually two close stars sharing the same name. Finally, a look through even a low-power telescope shows way more than 7 stars. Given the motion of stars over time, it's possible that the Greeks actually did see seven "stars" when they first named it.
  • This was initially averted by the cluster of cities on the Mississippi River initially known as the Tri-Cities in the late 19th century, as Davenport (Iowa), Moline, and Rock Island (both in Illinois) were about equal size to each other and when East Moline, IL grew in the 1930's they renamed themselves the Quad Cities. Then in the 1950's it was played straight when Bettendorf, Iowa's population exploded, surpassing that of East Moline and a debate rose as to whether Bettendorf had replaced East Moline in the hierarchy or whether they should be renamed the "Quint Cities". They eventually settled on a compromise where they remain known as the Quad Cities but include Bettendorf as the fifth member.

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