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You Are Number 6

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Number Two: You are Number Six.
Prisoner: I am not a number, I am a free man!

When a character has a number as a name, i.e. a numeronym.

Usually this carries dehumanizing implications. This can be for (at least) two overlapping reasons:

  1. The character is an Artificial Human or robot, whose creators regard it as non-sentient (or at least did when they were handing out names). The number is a serial number or shortening thereof.
  2. The character is a prisoner or otherwise an inhabitant of a large bureaucratic institution, which assigns people numbers to keep track of them. (And in some cases, to intentionally dehumanize them.)

For some reason, these implications are usually somewhat lessened when the number in question is "zero". They also don't necessarily apply to spy or superhero Code Names that are numbers (like 007), unless they become part of a Secret-Identity Identity. Having a low number (i.e. in the single digits) as a name is generally considered less humiliating than a large one. And Heaven help you if your name is 4, 13, 34, 69, 108, 420, 666, or a combination of them.

Science Fiction stories, especially dystopias, are likely to use this trope to some extent. It's also common for prisoners to have serial numbers instead of names.

Note that several languages have numeronyms (Japanese and Latin being the most likely to be encountered). In this case, the kids will be named in order of birth: literally, "Primus", "Secundus", "Tertius", etc.

Bizarrely, this can actually also serve to humanize beings that have never had separate identities before. If you have a race of robots or drones that become sentient, they may adopt their numbers as their actual names (à la Artoo Deetoo and See Threepio).

Compare One-Letter Name. See also: Numerical Theme Naming, Seven Is Nana, Goroawase Number. For replacing an entire area's name with a number, see Airstrip One.

Not to be confused with I Am Number Four or "We Are Number One".

Example Subpages:

Other Examples:

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    Asian Animation 
  • One character who appears later on in Happy Heroes is named "玖", which is a more formal way to write the Chinese character for the number nine.

    Audio Plays 
  • The android Fourteen in the Blake's 7 audio drama "The Turing Test". Avon wonders what exactly happened to the earlier thirteen versions... turns out they were all sacrificed as distractions whenever the research station was raided.
  • Big Finish Doctor Who. In "The Butcher of Brisbane", Dr. Sa Yy Findecker is having dissident journalist Ragnar Crezzen undergo a fatal time travel experiment and addresses him as "Prisoner 100742, because that's all you are now." Ironically, he later encounters a dying Crezzen and remembers this number because, "I never forget a statistic."

    Comic Books 
  • The character from the adventure strip The Q Bikes (and later the Q Karts and parodied as the Q Shoes in Viz) from The Beano had names but the characters were also identified by numbers Q1, Q2, etc. up to Q6.
  • Partial example, the first two Blue Beetles assumed that "Kaji Da" was the scarab's name. During Jaime Reyes's run it's revealed that Kaji Da is in fact its serial number in the Reach language.
  • Four-Girl from Boxers & Saints had parents that didn't want her and called her by her birth order rather than giving her a name.
  • The Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! villain known as the Bunny from Beyond was actually named/numbered RALF-124C4U (in reference to the story of the similar name by Hugo Gernsback, below).
  • Harold Higgins, who was featured in Daredevil Comics, fought crime as the superhero 13.
  • Subverted rather bizarrely in DC by Dr. 13: real name, Dr. Terrence Thirteen. His daughter Traci Thirteen is there too. He was the Ghostbreaker after all.
  • The Beagle Boys in Disney comics are all identical and distinguished only by their prison numbers. In one Don Rosa story they discuss the fact that none of them can even remember their real names, and another time Rosa has one of them reminisce how his mother expected to get a bribe to reveal his name to him, as a child.
  • In the Doctor Who Magazine comic strip, the Thinktwice prison wipes the memories of its inmates, including all the details of their identity. The Doctor finds Corrupt Corporate Executive Majenta Pryce there, where she's known as MP8/1/14/4 or "EmPee".
  • In Marvel's G.I. Joe series, Crimson Guardsmen of the "Fred" series all took the name Fred followed by a Roman numeral, and had plastic surgery so they all looked alike. As the Freds were all infiltrating corporations and politics, this allowed any Fred to replace another should the need arise.
  • 711, a short-lived Golden Age character who first appeared in Police Comics #1 (the same book in which Plastic Man debuted). He was unjustly imprisoned and "711" was his prisoner number. He tunneled his way out of prison so he could fight crime every night and return to his cell every morning, no one the wiser.
  • Two-Six of the Green Lantern Corps comes from a mathematics-based culture where everyone is designated by the their birth order in a given year. Her full name is 2-6-8-1-7-9-5, but is nicknamed Two-Six for short.
    • Upon being inducted into the Indigo Tribe, Iroque forsook her birth name, but says the others can call her Indigo-1 to distinguish her.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Uno, Duo and Trey, Rocket Raccoon's sons (although he insists that they're his nephews) in Marvel 100th Anniversary Special.
  • Henchmen: In his first job as a henchman, Gary worked for the Head Pin of Crime, which required him and his fellow henchman to dress up as numbered bowling pins. Gary was number 8.
  • In Marvel Comics, X-51 is the robotic Machine Man Aaron Stack's original name, but he hates being called that.
  • Also from Marvel, Shatterstar's alternate name is Gaveedra-Seven.
  • BI66ER from the comic stories of The Matrix.
  • Robot 23 in Mega Robo Bros, the Big Bad from Book 1.
  • Missile Mouse has #44, a security robot who partnered with Missile Mouse in "Rescue on Tankium3.
  • Zig-Zagged in PS238 — Julie Finster initially has issues feeling like The Generic Guy, because she's the 84th person born with the Flight/Invulnerability/Strength/Speed power set; she even develops the habit of asking others what their "number" is. She eventually comes to embrace her situation, however, and decides to take "84" as her official superhero name.
  • The main characters from Mike Allred's underrated miniseries Red Rocket 7 are all clones of a heroic alien set to return one day. They're all numbered 2-7 and named as such.
  • Also from Marvel, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. go by code numbers. Sharon Carter is Agent 13.
  • Simon Says: Nazi Hunter: Simon has the number "054713" tattooed on his arm from his days as a Nazi prisoner.
  • Superboy (Conner Kent) was originally designated "S-13" because he was the 13th (and only successful) attempt at cloning Superman.
  • The Umbrella Academy: The seven adopted children who form the titular academy respond to their respective numbers up until they receive real names and proper superhero codenames, respectively. Luther/Spaceboy is Number One, Diego/Kraken is Number Two, Allison/Rumor is Number Three, Klaus/Séance is Number Four, Ben/Horror is Number Six, and Vanya/White Violin is Number Seven. The exception is Number Five, who accidentally get stuck in the future before being given a name, and thus is referred to by number. At the end of Hotel Oblivion, the leader of the Sparrow Academy introduces himself as Number One.
  • V for Vendetta: V's name was derived from being an experiment who was in room five, which has the Roman numeral V. Not that the comic's version considered it a name as such.
  • The main characters of We3. Their real names are Bandit (the dog), Tinker (the cat), and Pirate (the rabbit).
  • We Kill Monsters: Andrew finds the serial number "M87009-3XR" on the remains of the giant bug he, Jake, and Vanessa killed. It clues him in on where the monsters came from.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: The "Flying Saucer Princess" in #110 fled her home planet because she had spent her life always grouped with the other princesses as "Princess #1003" while being forced to never stand out or deviate from the others.
  • X-Men:
    • X-23 (a.k.a Laura Kinney; however this name is rarely used by her friends and family, and mainly by those attempting to dehumanize her), so named because she was the 23rd attempt in a project to create an Opposite-Sex Clone of Wolverine. Also, Fantomex. His real name is Charlie-Cluster 7, while his official codename is Weapon XIII. Last but not least: Wolverine himself, as he is Weapon X.
    • Note, though, that originally Weapon X was simply a cool-sounding codename, until Grant Morrison decided that it was part of the much-larger Weapon Plus program, going all the way back to Weapon I in WW2: Captain America.
    • Genoshan Mutates are only referred to by a number designation. For example when Storm & Wolfsbane were transformed into Mutates they were known an "Mutate #20" & "Mutate #490"
  • Y: The Last Man: Agent 355. In addition, Allison Mann's father mass produces clones of her, each bearing her name and their respective number in sequence. The first one she meets is named "Ayuko Ni", Allison 2 in Japanese.

    Comic Strips 
  • Dick Tracy: When Steve the Tramp is released from prison, he has been referred to as 'No. 2704' for so long he can no longer remember his own name.
  • Peanuts:
    • In the early 1960s, the strip had a character named 5 (full name 555 95472). His sisters were 3 and 4. (Fans of the strip have probably seen these three characters without even knowing it; they are in the dance scene in A Charlie Brown Christmas.) 5 said that his father named his kids that way as a reaction to all the numbers (such as the then-new ZIP Code) being put on people in modern life.
      Lucy: This is his way of protesting, huh?
      5: No, this is his way of giving in!
    • Charlie Brown's sister Sally meets 5 in one strip and thinks about being married to him.
      Sally: [thought balloon] Mrs. Sally 95472... [out loud] I can't see it!
  • The Wizard of Id. The king asks one of his soldiers what he thinks of being in the army. The soldier complains, "I'm just a number." When the king asks his name, Sir Rodney gives the man's regimental number instead.

    Fan Works 
  • BlazBlue Alternative: Remnant: Just like the canon BlazBlue games, Murakumo Units all have numerical designations as their names. But besides the canon examples of Nu-13, Lambda-11, and Mu-12/Noel Vermillion, there's also Kappa-10/Penny Polendina.
  • In The Bridge, before Monster X was a Kaiju, he was a Xillian soldier called Praetorian Guard 094. His wife was Controller 011 and his parents were Astrological Engineer 4872 and Praetorian Guard 013.
  • A Certain Droll Hivemind: The Misaka clones are numbered this way, such as the protagonist, Misaka-11111. When her psychiatrist explained that she needed a name to differentiate herself and fit in with society, she chose... 11111. When that was denied, she chose Mikoto-1. When that was denied, she chose Misaka Yui. Her psychiatrist missed the pun ("Misaka Yui" can be translated as "Just Misaka") and allowed it.
    I was also instructed to select a personal name, for the purposes of paperwork. They rejected my first suggestion, of '11111'. I do not know what to do with it. The Network understands that most people require a personal name to help distinguish them from other people, but surely there are no other Misaka-11111s.
    I am almost certain that there are no other organisations on Earth which could clone Misaka Mikoto that many times. I would also hope that they could show more originality in their cloning research. There are other Level-5 candidates out there.
  • Mr. 7, the seven-legged giant spider in Divided Rainbow.
  • Frieza in Dragon Ball Abridged numbers the planets he conquers (ex. Kanassa became "Frieza Planet 419") as well as his minions.
  • This is played with with the Psyches in Empath: The Luckiest Smurf, as they are both given actual names as well as designation codes and are alternately referred to as either their real names or their designation codes (Empath Smurf is 1137-K, while Polaris Psyche is 1124-K). Like the Borg from Star Trek, the Psyches also identify various species such as the Smurfs by designation codes (in the Smurfs' case, they are Species 0002).
  • The titular character of Fallout: Equestria - Murky Number Seven.
  • P-21 from Fallout: Equestria - Project Horizons. Subverted in that he ultimately decides to wear his name as a point of pride, and a testament to the fact that he survived the dehumanizing institution that gave it to him.
  • The Great Red Panda Rescue: Mei, after being Kidnapped for Experimentation, is referred to by the scientists who captured her as RP1. This not only dehumanizes her, but implies that they intend to find the other members of her family that can become red pandas, with Mei only being the first of their involuntary test subjects.
  • In Hope for the Heartless, the four Invisibles are referred to as the first, second, third and fourth Invisible when the narration focuses on their point of view.
  • Patient 4479 in The Joker Blogs is referred to only as — well, Patient 4479. He refuses to or is unable to supply his real name, and the majority of characters would rather call him 4479 than Joker.
  • In Marionettes, The Marionettes are referred to with numbers by Cover Story and Gear Shift: Trixie is G4T01, Diamond Tiara is G4T03, Lightning Dust is G4T08, and Cover Story's own programming refers to him as G4EA072.
  • In Masks Within Masks Subject Seven and other experiments like her, such as Twelve the Dratini, were only given numbers as names.
  • In My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic, Space Ponies have serial numbers on their jumpsuits instead of cutie marks (the latter being another one of the things the author didn't get/like and changed).
  • Once Upon a December Night: Unlike in canon, the Kraang address April as "Experiment 273."
  • On Trial: The final prison Cassandra is sent to refers to its prisoners by serial numbers (which are etched onto collars locked onto their necks) as a further means of dehumanization. The only one to not follow this rule is the kindly cook and server Madeline, who averts this trope and calls prisoners by their names.
  • Unlike in the comics (see Comic Books entry above,) Superboy went by the "name" Subject 36 before he was liberated from CADMUS in the Our Own League continuity. In the present, calling him this is a Berserk Button.
  • In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, Dr. Fuji refers to Mewtwo as "Subject #150". A sidestory reveals it's a numerical designation for the subjects in their cloning experiments, and the previous 149 did not survive the process.
  • In Pony POV Series, during the reign of Queen Cocoon, Changelings were numbered, and only those who prove themselves exceptional in some way earn a name. After Chrysalis defeated Cocoon in battle and took over, she declared this practice stupid and abolished it, granting all the Changelings names.
  • In Project Bluefield, the Zeros have a set of numbers followed by a chosen name. Trey, Dreyza, Vespyr, and Kyoku have this taken one further, with a "-R" appended to the number.
  • In ''Project Code 131793, Stucker and Dr. List's test subjects are given numbered codes, with Stephen being the eponymous number 131793, and Pietro and Wanda being given numbers 1916554 and 2392038.
  • Queen of Shadows: It seems that Shadowkhan Queens don't have names (aside from Kagehime, the first Queen) — when the Generals speak of past Queens, they always use their number, and even when speaking of or to the Queen that Jade's replaced formally, she's referred to by number as well (98, specifically).
  • Spinel's New Best Friend: When Spinel introduces herself to Twilight Sparkle, she does the Diamond salute and refers to herself as Spinel Facet-4G2A Cut-3YT.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Women in the computer-run dystophia of Alphaville have numerals tattooed on their bodies (presumably the men as well but women are the ones who expose more skin). One woman has the tattoo on her face.
  • Alita: Battle Angel: The eponymous protagonist is an amnesiac fallen cyborg warrior who gains a second chance at life as a cyborg girl. She recalls her battle ID was '99', and takes '99' as her symbol when she becomes a Motorball contestant.
  • In Austin Powers, we have Dr. Evil's "Number Two man. His name? Number Two.", and The Mole, Number Three.
  • The title character of Ben-Hur (1959) is known as "Forty-One" while onboard the Roman galley.
  • The two brothers running the restaurant in Big Night are Primo and Secondo, Italian for "First" and "Second" respectively.
  • Aaron Cross of The Bourne Legacy (along with the other agents/test subjects) is known to the researchers monitoring the project as by his number, not his name. He is *quite* put out when he finds out that Dr Shiring only knows him as "Number Five."
  • Zigzagged in The Cat from Outer Space, where the title character's name combines words and numbers. His full name is Zunar-J-5/9 Doric-4-7, but is called "Jake" for most of the film.
  • Alex in A Clockwork Orange is known only as "six, double-five, three, two, one" while in prison.
  • In Day of the Wolves, the Wolves know each other as a number rather than a name, so that if one is captured he cannot identify the rest.
  • The Elite Squad has each of the BOPE recruits being given a number, which is the only way CO Captain Nascimento refers to them for the rest of training ("02, know why you won't be able to do what I'm ordering you?").
  • The Don in The Finger Points (who is clearly based on Al Capone) is referred to only as "Number One" — even in newspaper headlines.
  • Five Deadly Venoms: Downplayed. Each of the title characters is mainly referred to by the name of the venomous animal associated with their style of kung fu, but they are also often referred to by the order in which they were taught by the Poison Clan's master - for example, Centipede was the first student, and is sometimes referred to as Number 1. However, each of them is also given a proper name, and there's also a sixth student who knows a smattering of each of the styles, so in addition to his actual name (Yang Tieh) he is sometimes referred to as Number Six.
  • Fortress (1992): John Brennick is assigned the number 95763 when he arrives at The Alcatraz. Leading to the following exchange:
    Prison director Poe: Sit down, 95763.
    John: My name is Brennick.
    Prison director Poe: Of course it is.
  • The three thugs who come to free "Desolation" Williams in Ghosts of Mars are introduced by him as Uno, Dos, and Tres. It's not clear if he's just trying to be funny, but they're never referred to by any other name, even Uno, who's revealed to be his brother.
  • In Good Boy!, all dogs on the dog star Sirius 7 are identified by a number. The protagonist's pet, Hubble, is known as Canid 3142.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014): Rhomann Dey refers to Rocket by the serial number used by the scientists who created him, culminating in the following exchange:
    High Evolutionary: You! You thought you could escape me? No! You think you have some worth in and of yourself without me? No! You're an abomination! Nothing more than a step on my path, you freakish little monster! How dare you think you are any more, 89P13?
    Rocket: The name's Rocket. Rocket...Raccoon.
  • In the first Hitman film, all the assassins are trained from a very young age as such, stripped of their names and left with numbers.
    • Somewhat more elaborate example in the remake, which, in addition to the original numbered assassins — complete with the scene of 47 proclaiming his "name" to be such - also includes Katia Van Dees... Who's name is actually Quatre-Vingt-Dix, french for Ninety. That's 43 versions better then the titular character.
  • I Am Number Four plays with this. It's averted in that the numbers are not actually used for names, but as target designations. However, it's deliberately invoked in Number Six's case, who identifies herself as "Number Six" (except one snarky comment to Sam that her name is "Jane Doe") and refers to John only by his number.
  • In Invasion of Astro-Monster, the aliens from Planet X refer to King Ghidorah as Monster Zero, Godzilla as Monster Zero One, and Rodan as Monster Zero Two.
    Everything is numbered here.
  • The Invitation (2022): Mr. Field the butler calls all the maids by numbers instead of names. It quickly is shown to be a sign of how little they mean to him, as he sends them off to their deaths.
  • In The Island (2005), the clones have a sort of mix of this. A clone's first name is the last name of his or her sponsor, which is followed by a number and code for a letter (the protagonist is "Lincoln 6 Echo") to denote what "series" of clones they're from. Notably, the antagonist keeps calling the protagonist "Six Echo," instead of "Lincoln".
  • The musical comedy Just Imagine (from way, way back in 1930) takes place in the then-future year of 1980, where everyone has numbers instead of names. (The male protagonist is named J-21, the lead female LN-18, and numerous other examples.)
  • In The Last Witch Hunter, all Dolans are known only as "[number]th Dolan".
  • The Life and Death of 9413: a Hollywood Extra is an experimental short film about a guy who goes to Hollywood to be an actor, and has a number stamped on his forehead by a studio executive. He meets an actress named 13 and an actor named 15. When 15 hits it big in the movies, his number is erased, replaced by a drawing of a star.
  • Done in a slightly cryptic way in The Matrix series, with Neo (identified as "the one" and also an anagram of "one"), Trinity, and Cypher (one somewhat esoteric definition of cypher (also spelled "cipher") is the digit zero; it comes from the Arabic word "sifr", which means, well, zero. Technically "zero" also comes from "sifr", but that's a whole other matter).
    • In The Animatrix, it is mentioned that the machines named their city "01".
  • Worker 11811 (or Georgy), who Freder "trades lives" with in Metropolis.
  • In The Mothman Prophecies, Laura Linney's character has a mysterious dream about floating in water and hearing the words "Wake up, number 37." Later on in the movie, she falls into the freezing Ohio River when the Silver Bridge collapses. She is narrowly rescued, and later learns that 36 people died in the disaster. She would have been the 37th.
  • The comedy Multiplicity involves a construction contractor getting a scientist to make him a clone to help out with work. The clone has a "2" tattooed behind his ear and is generally referred to either as "Doug #2", "#2", or just "2". Later, Doug makes "Doug #3" to help out around the house and keep "Doug #2" company. Then "Doug #2" and "Doug #3" make "Doug #4" to do small chores. They eventually get used to being called by their numbers.
  • Jack Harper from Oblivion (2013) is Drone Tech 49. This becomes pretty important as the story goes.
  • Toward the end of The President's Analyst, the title character is abducted by the Phone Company who intend to extract information from him to help them secure legislation to implant microcommunicators in everyone's head and substitute numbers for names as the only legal identification for efficiency.
  • In Pride, this trope is subverted, as it isn't an identifier — when Johnathan Blake describes his diagnosis with HIV in the early days of its discovery, doctors assigned names to diagnosed patients, before they stopped when the numbers got too large. "I'm Number 2".
  • The names of the three sons of daimyo Hidetora Ichimonji in Akira Kurosawa's Ran — Taro, Jiro, and Saburo — actually mean "first boy", "second boy" and "third boy" and are popular Japanese first names.
  • One Two from RocknRolla.
  • Seven Jones from Seven Ways from Sundown. He says his father wasn't much on naming and just called his kids One, Two, etc. Their mother added extra words so they would have 'full' names. Seven's full name is Seven Ways From Sundown Jones.
  • The robots in Short Circuit are all named after numbers. Somehow, Number Five acquires sentience, and changes his name to Johnny Five.
  • In the 1960 Italian sci-fi Space-Men (a.k.a. Assignment: Outer Space), the astronauts all have names but refer to each other using the alphanumeric codes on their spacesuits. Ray Peterson aka IZ41 saves the life of Y13 from a passing meteor and is surprised to find afterwards that Y13 Is A Girl named Lucy.
  • The superhero "Eight" in The Specials is a Hive Mind controlling eight human bodies.
  • The brothers in Stardust who kill each other off for the throne and then hang around as ghosts to see who gets it were apparently bred expressly for this purpose, so that whoever should inherit should have earned it by cunning and strength. They were therefore named impersonally, with Latin names designating their birth order, Primus to Septimus. Their sister is named Una, but nobody pays her much heed, as only a male can inherit the throne.
  • B4, progenitor to Data from Star Trek: Nemesis. This is, of course, a play on the fact that B4, being a prototype, came "before" Data and is, in fact, lampshaded by Picard in the offhand comment: "Dr. Soong's penchant for whimsical names seems to have no end."
  • Star Wars:
    • All the droids go by their model numbers. The funny thing about the droids is that they grow more 'human' as time goes on, so the number becomes just like a personal name; in fact, Expanded Universe convention spells the numbers out phonetically in dialogue, not necessarily using the spellings of the individual digits. R2-D2 and C-3PO are normally referred to as Artoo and Threepio.
    • Averted in some Star Wars Legends works in that droids would be referred to by names instead of by their official designations. In the X-Wing series of novels, most of the R series astromech droids in Rogue Squadron are given names by their pilots. For example, Corran Horn's R2-D2 unit was referred to as Whistler, and the R5-D2 that Wedge Antilles used was named Mynock until Wedge had Mynock's memory wiped and systems upgraded. This resulted in the droid's designation changing to R5-G8, which Wedge shortened to Gate. Gavin Darklighter initially called his R2 unit Jawaswag before renaming him Catch.
    • Stormtroopers. "TK-421, why aren't you at your post? TK-421, do you copy?" In the novelization, the trooper's number is THX 1138.
    • Fighter pilots are also given numbers, which they are supposed to (but don't always) use on the communications broadcasts, to preserve their identity in case their encryption gets broken and the enemy intercepts their transmissions. This is seen mostly in the X-Wing Series and other series that feature fighter pilots, but shows up in other places as well, including the movies.
      "Red five, standing by."
    • Clones were given their production numbers as their names, resulting in a series of letters and numbers as their "official" names. The Jedi were more understanding, and most of them allowed their clone charges to have nicknames, both for the ease of identification and for individuality. Sadly, after Revenge of the Sith these were all but obliterated.
    • In The Force Awakens, the First Order's Stormtroopers were taken from their families as infants and known only by number designations. The one who defects and aids the heroes was only known as "FN-2187", until Poe Dameron (disgusted by the fact he wasn't given a proper name) dubs him "Finn".
    • The stormtrooper who gets Jedi mind-tricked is played by Daniel Craig. He is "FN-1824", but fans have dubbed him JB-007.
    • The stormtrooper with the stun baton who goes after Finn yeling "TRAITOR!" has been turned into a Memetic Badass by the name of TR-8R. His actual name is FN-2199, though he's also called Nines.
  • In Thor: Ragnarok, the higher ups on Sakaar refer to Valkyrie as Scrapper 142.
  • THX 1138: Everybody in the distant future has a license plate name, as the film is set in world where humans exist as indentured workers.
  • Triassic World: The dinosaurs that the scientists created are all identified by serial numbers. The dinosaur that the protagonists deal with the most is called G-32.
  • The jurors in 12 Angry Men are referred to only by juror number (the film ends with two jurors introducing themselves to each other, but this was not in the original play).
  • In Ultraviolet (2006), Violet rescues a young boy from the clutches of the Big Bad, who is believed to be the boy's father. When Violet asks the boy what his name is, he responds by holding up six fingers. Later on, the Big Bad reveals to Violet why Six is known as such: Six is not his son, but his clone; specifically, number six in a series of eight.
  • The title character of V for Vendetta (it's a Roman numeral).
    "Then I saw him—the Man from Room Five."
  • A variant occurs in the beginning of Wedlock, where all the prisoners are assigned colors as identification, and have to use them instead of their own names.
  • X-Men Film Series
    • In X2: X-Men United, General Stryker had his son Jason lobotomized after lashing out against him and his wife. Since then, the General simply refers to him as "Mutant 143". When Professor X expresses his shock over it, asking why he'd do this to his own son, Stryker simply answers with: "No, Charles. My son is dead. Just like the rest of you."
    • Weapon XI/Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
    • In X-Men: First Class, Erik Lehnsherr outs himself as a Holocaust survivor to some Nazis he was amicably chatting with (and planning to kill). When they asked for the names of his parents, being from the same town, he answered that they "had no names — they were stolen from them" before showing his own concentration camp number. Violence ensues.
  • Sanjuro from Yojimbo gives himself a number-name due to the fact that "I'm about 36 (san-3, ju-10 ro[ku]-6) years old." His other name is due to the grove of mulberry trees he happens to be looking at. Yay, sericulture.
  • In Zombieland, the main characters all go by the names of cities, however in his flashback scene, Columbus refers to his neighbor only by her apartment number, 406.

  • The difference between a large college and a small college is that at a large college, the administration says "Screw you, Mr. #7389", while at a small college, the administration says "Screw you, Joe."
  • A young boy was helping a farmer with some newborn pigs and the boy asked "What name should we give it?" The farmer answered "None, never name something that you might need to kill later. Now back to work, kid #3654!"

    Live-Action TV 
  • Subverted in The 100: Clarke is initially introduced as "Prisoner 319", but her real name is revealed minutes later and is used to refer to her from that point forward.
  • In an episode of The Adventures of Superman, the cast meets an exiled Martian whose species uses numbers for names; this one's number is Zero Zero Zero Minus One. They call him "Mr. Zero" for short.
  • In Season 2 of Altered Carbon, Poe, the avatar of a hotel's Artificial Intelligence seeks help from a Weird Trade Union of unemployed archaeological AI's who are named after the dig sites they were designed to catalogue. Poe befriends "Dig 301", though he calls her "Ms. Dig" and she adopts the name of Annabel Lee at the end of the series.
  • Arrow: During Oliver Queen's stint in prison after confessing to being the Green Arrow, the guards refer to him exclusively as "Inmate 4587".
  • In a particularly scarring episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? a witch steals the faces of girls to stay young and beautiful. After she does, and leaves the girls with horrifying blank faces, they're assigned numbers and forced to work for her. Any rather queasy parallels to human trafficking may or may not have been intended.
  • Batwoman (2019): Ryan Wilder gives a speech to Luke and Mary about how her life has been defined by statistics; from mortality rates to her prisoner number. Unlike the dehumanizing effect normally associated with the trope, Ryan's speech is meant to show why she feels she's worthy of the Batsuit.
  • In Season 4 of Blake's 7, the Terran Federation has spread its empire due to Government Drug Enforcement. In "Warlord", a secret resistance video shows Federation citizens with letters and numerals stamped on their foreheads, moving listlessly up and down elevators while a soothing voice tells them, "You are cared for. You are loved."
  • The Cylons from Battlestar Galactica (2003), especially Six. Most of the others were originally introduced as if they were human, giving them a name before their model number was revealed, and are often referred to collectively as "Sharons", "Leobens" etc. whereas Sixes are "Sixes" (and are the only model that's used more than one name for various copies: Shelly, Gina, Natalie, Lida, Sonja). Ronald D. Moore has confirmed the name "Number Six" as another nod to The Prisoner. One version of Six is nicknamed "Caprica-Six" or "Caprica" by other Cylons, however — she was the No. Six that went to Caprica to lay the groundwork of the destruction of the Colonies. Thus, "Caprica-Six".
    • On the subject of Cylons and Caprica, one wonders whether Daniel Graystone would continue to call the robot U-87 if he knew that Zoe was actually in there.
  • Six LeMeure from Blossom. According to her parents, that was how many beers it took to conceive her.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Initiative refer to Spike as "Hostile 17".
  • Played for laughs in El Chapulín Colorado, in an episode he goes to help a jail where all the prisoners are known by a number, and we focus on "the 24", but aside from being know only by their number, he actually have an amicable relation with the jailer, to the point that he actually leaves the cell door unlocked (it probably has to do with the fact that he is the only prisoner that hasn't escaped yet). It's implied this is the same with all prisoner, as Chapulín mentions a "13" (which they nicknamed the "14").
  • Subverted in Choudenshi Bioman, in which while each of the Biomen has their own names, their codenames are represented by their color and number in the roll call: Red 1 (Shiro), Green 2 (Shingo), Blue 3 (Ryuta), Yellow 4 (Mika, then Jun) and Pink 5 (Hikaru).
  • If you believe the theory that John Drake is Number Six, the famous theme song for Danger Man/Secret Agent becomes either Hilarious in Hindsight or Harsher in Hindsight:
    They've given you a number
    And taken away your name.
  • In Dark Angel, all of the transgenics have designations, except Joshua (the first) and his brother Isaac.
    • The first part of the designation denotes their series, the second part denotes the last three digits of their number in the series. Max is X5-452, and her twin Sam is X5-453. Zack is X5-599. Alec is X5-494, and his twin Ben is X5-493. And so on. The full number is on the barcodes on the backs of their necks.
  • In Dark Matter (2015), the amnesiac crew of the Raza adopt numbers One through Six in the pilot episode as names as a way of identifying themselves/each other, based on the order they woke up from stasis. Even after learning their given names at the end of the pilot, they choose to stick with the numbers to dissociate from their pasts, since those pasts are as hardened criminals wanted for crimes like murder, assault, piracy and kidnapping, and they don't want to be those people anymore. With the exception of Five, the Mysterious Waif whose reason for being among them is unclear. Unlike the five adults, she has no profile in the ship's database and doesn't even learn her former name and whether or not she has any criminal past until later. She does, technically, but merely as an orphaned truant and pickpocket who stowed away, making her the most innocent member of the crew.
  • On The Dating Game, a contestant's potential choices would be referred to as "Bachelor #__" rather than by name.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In-universe it has been established that the Doctor's nickname in the academy on Gallifrey (not his name; his name is secret) was "Theta Sigma", which isn't actually numbers but carries a similar tone.
    • In the fandom, of course, it is customary to distinguish the different regenerations of the Doctor by simply referring to them by number. David Tennant's Doctor is "Ten", for example. And not just the fandom:
      Clara: Okay, so you're number Eleven. So...
      The Doctor: Ha. Are we forgetting Captain Grumpy? Eh? I didn't call myself the Doctor during the Time War but it was still a regeneration.
      Clara: Okay, so you're number Twelve.
      The Doctor: Well, Number Ten once regenerated and kept the same face.
    • In "The Ark", the Monoids refer to each other this way.
    • Also, although he is a robot and it counts as a Punny Name, K-9.
    • Another example is the Ood, which have no names but are referred to by a numerical designation such as "Ood 1-alpha-1".
    • "The Eleventh Hour" features a Prisoner Zero. It is not an example of My Hero, Zero.
  • The DRD 1812 in the science fiction series Farscape is a subversion. The DRDs in general have no names or independent identities, so anything that sets them apart actually serves to humanize them. 1812 is named for Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture", which it sometimes plays, and it is further identified by its unique red, white, and blue paint job.
  • General and I: The owner of Jiao Yan Casino is always called "Lady Thirteen". Her real name isn't revealed.
  • Most of the agents from Get Smart, including "Agent 99" who otherwise has No Name Given. Maxwell Smart's number is 86. The choice of numbers is an intentional hint that, though Max outranks 99, she is the more competent agent.note  There's also the perpetually unlucky 13 who is never given a name.
    • According to the show's creators, 99 was originally supposed to be "Agent 69", but they couldn't get it past the censors.
    • In "Leadside", the Chief, 99 and 86 are trying to organise a dragnet of CONTROL agents across several highways which are also numbered. Hilarity Ensues as everyone gets the numbers all mixed up.
  • Dr. Yang of Grey's Anatomy generally refers to her interns by number.
  • The Handmaid's Tale: At their trial Ofglen and her female lover are referred to by a string of numbers preceded by their class.
  • Hanna: In Season 1, the Utrax girls are referred to (and refer to themselves) by number rather than name. Season 2 sees them get names as part of their socialization training.
  • "Thirteen" from House is actually named Remy Hadley, but during House's intern selection process, she was assigned the number thirteen, and it just stuck.
    • Even her boyfriend calls her "Thirteen", though, to be fair, she calls him "Foreman." And at one point, the two of them are even called "Foreteen."
    • Heck, in one episode she identifies herself as Thirteen to a coworker (who likely only knew her by that name).
  • The Incredible Hulk (1977): While incarcerated by corrupt officers for vagrancy in "The Slam," Dr. David Banner is addressed only by his prisoner number, 1124.
  • The protagonist of Kyle XY spent sixteen years or so of his life as Subject 781227.
  • The title character of Loki (2021) is labelled as Variant L1130, though is only referred to as such in TVA files. Hunters for the TVA get a letter-number designation (e.g., B-15 or C-20) but can acquire/choose a name if they move up in rank as shown with Judge Ravonna Renslayer who was once called A-23.
  • Love and Destiny: Shi San's name means "Thirteen".
  • In an episode of Malcolm in the Middle, Malcolm's new teacher addresses all the students in the gifted class by a number corresponding to their rank according to grades. It works well enough that one of them even forgets his real name.
  • On Married... with Children the Bundys briefly take care of a young relation named Seven. (So named because, according to his father, "we've had one, two, three, four, five, seven kids.")
  • In New Amsterdam (2008), John has stopped naming his dogs long ago. His current dog is named Thirty-Six.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In "The Camp", the human slaves in the concentration camp are identified by serial numbers.
  • The Outpost:
    • The members of The Three (the trio of God Emperors who rule the Prime Order) are only ever referred to as One, Two, and Three.
    • 313 has no name at first, only this. Later, after turning to the good guys' side, Wren suggests "Marvyn" as a name for him. He accepts this.
  • A common theme in The Prisoner, and Trope Namer. Made more interesting in that the creator once revealed that the true identity of "Number One" is revealed in the opening narration, but that it wasn't his fault if people put the comma in the wrong place...
    • "Who is Number One?" "You are, Number Six." See how it works?
    • Given a Shout-Out in the Prisoner-esque Nowhere Man when Veil infiltrates a paranoid militia and is renamed Number Six.
  • Dillon of Power Rangers RPM is still called "D44" by Venjix and his minions. To shed some light, Dillion had lost his memories after being one of several test subjects (at least 44 times 4 if the D is any indication) in a Venjix project to implant his tech inside humans.
  • Kryten 2X4B 523P in Red Dwarf. He thinks 2X4B is a jerky middle name, but it's not as bad as 2Q4B.
  • In Seinfeld, George suggested the name "Seven" for a baby. A couple in the episode ended up using it.
  • The Fox Reality original series Solitary starts this way...
    VAL: What is your name?
    You: This Troper.
    VAL: That is incorrect. The number on your pod is now your name. What is your name?
    You: My name is Number Six.
  • An episode of Space Cases had a prisoner switching her place with a female "crew" member. In the prison, she was only addressed as "Prisoner 24601".
  • Players in Squid Game are assigned a number at the beginning of the games in accordance with when they signed up and are identified as such in announcements and on their uniforms.
  • The replicator "Fifth" from Stargate SG-1, as well as the other human-form replicators.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Original Series: Number One from the pilot episode "The Cage" and reused footage in the two-parter "The Menagerie". One assumes she does have a name, though, but is so identified with her role that no one thinks of her otherwise. According to a novelization, her name is actually Number One, due to being from a planet where everyone is genetically engineered.
      Captain Pike: I can't get used to having a woman on the bridge. No offense, Lieutenant. You're different, of course.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Borg drone Hugh from "I Borg" was originally known as Third of Five before the Enterprise crew renamed him.
    • Star Trek: Voyager:
      • Seven of Nine's birth name (before she was assimilated as a child) was Annika Hansen. When she was later freed from the Collective by Captain Janeway, the latter suggested replacing her Borg designation (Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero One) with her human name. Seven of Nine refuses, as she's not happy about "becoming human" in the first place, so they compromise on "Seven of Nine." An interesting example of someone asserting their individuality via this trope (although you could say Seven was deliberately "dehumanizing" herself). The name was commonly further shortened as simply "Seven."
      • Throughout the series, there are passing references made to the designation of other Borg (usually by the Borg Queen).
      • The Borg also designate alien species by code numbers (e.g. humans are Species 5618). Notably, a major hostile alien race in Voyager is only ever called "Species 8472" in-show, although in the non-canon Expanded Universe, they became the Undine.
      • Played for Laughs in the episode "The Omega Directive", when Seven of Nine is put in charge of a project and assigns each member of the group a Borg-style designation to "improve efficiency". When Six of Ten (a.k.a. Harry Kim) complains, Seven "demotes" him to Two of Ten.
    • Star Trek: Picard: Being an Obstructive Bureaucrat, the Romulan Free State assigns numerical designations to every employee and patient at the Romulan Reclamation Site, such as Patient 8923 stroke 3 (the "Nameless" Borg drone who undergoes the reclamation procedure) and Employee badge 74983 stroke 2 (Dr. Soji Asha).
  • The Strain (TV series): Eichhorst rarely addresses Holocaust-survivor Setrakian by name, preferring to call him by his tattooed number, "A230385".
  • Eleven from Stranger Things was raised in a secret government facility as test subject number 11, which is even tattooed on her arm.
  • Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms: Mo Yuan's disciples refer to each other by the order in which they became his disciples. Bai Qian is the seventeenth disciple, so they call her "Seventeenth". Ling Yu is almost always called "Ninth", and Die Feng, the most senior disciple, is always called "Senior".
  • In one episode of This is Wonderland, a mentally unstable woman claims a man, who is an agent of the Catholic Church, kidnaps her every week. She also claims this nefarious man has no name and uses a Roman numeral for identification.
  • In Timeslip, Simon discovers that his future self is known only as "Controller 2957". The others who work for the technocracy, mostly clones, also are known only by numbers.
  • Torchwood: Children of Earth: The 456, named by humans for the radio wavelength they used.
  • The Ultra Series
    • Ultraseven earned his name because Ultra Garrison considered him their seventh member (all of other other members were referred as Ultra #, like Ultra-1 for Commander Kiriyama)... Supposedly; there was a line explaining this in the script - and it's treated as canon - but it got cut during editing, so it comes out of nowhere when he's called such in the second episode.note  Throughout the franchise, "Seven" is treated as a nickname among those familiar with him. Prior to coming to Earth, his name among the Ultras was "(Stationary Observer) Number 340".
    • Played straight in a very positive light in Ultraman Taro. It forms the intro line to Taro's theme!
      • What makes this instance a little clever, is that in the lore of the series, Taro is Seven's cousin!
  • The Umbrella Academy (2019):
    • Sir Reginald Hargreeves named the seven children he adopted to make the Umbrella Academy after numbers. It wasn't until a few years after they were born that their robot mother Grace gave them actual names. Luther is Number One, Diego is Number Two, Allison is Number Three, Klaus is Number Four, Ben is Number Six, and Viktor (né Vanya) is Number Seven. Unlike the comics, Number Five disappeared after they were named, yet he still only goes by his number for unknown reasons.
    • In Season 3, the Umbrellas arrive in an alternate universe in which Reginald adopted a different group of seven children (sans Ben) to form The Sparrow Academy. Marcus is Number One, Ben is Number Two, Fei is Number Three, Alphonso is Number Four, Sloane is Number Five, Jayme is Number Six, and Christopher is Number Seven.
  • In The West Wing, Will gives the speech writing interns (three of whom are named Lauren) numbered jerseys to help identify them.
  • The X-Files: The episode "Eve" features a series of clones of the same woman, all denoting themselves as Eve # according to the order they were cloned. Eve 6 of this episode mentions biting a guard in the eye. Due to this, one of the band members of Eve Six decided to use that as their band name.

  • Many pieces of Classical Music have numbers as titles. If a composition doesn't have words or a story attached to it, the most convenient way to keep it straight from the others is the order in which it was premiered, so we get pieces like "Symphony no. 5 in C minor" or "String Quartet no. 14." Composers may also give their works "opus numbers" to identify the order in which they were written or published. If the composer neglects to do this, later musicologists may catalog and number their works for them. For instance, Mozart's compositions were given chronological numbers by Ludwig von Köchel, so you'll see his pieces identified like "Requiem, K. 626."
  • At least three albums are named after their catalog numbers:
  • Possibly alluded to by Adele, for her theme for Skyfall:
    You may have my number, you can take my name, but you will never have my heart.
  • Alice Cooper's "Clones". ("6 is having problems adjusting to his clone status...")
  • Emilie Autumn, "One Foot in Front of the Other":
    I used to have a home, now I don't even have a name. I'm nothing but a number. Here we are all the same.
  • "You Are Number Six" by the mathcore/technical-metal band Behold...The Arctopus.
  • The girls in the video for The Birthday Massacre's "Looking Glass" all wear masks with numbers on them. No names are ever given. The protagonist of the video is Number Six, however.
  • The band Chicago tend to number their albums rather than name them, for example: Chicago X, Chicago XIV, Twenty 1.
  • The eponymous "Thirteen", first recorded by Danzig, then covered by Johnny Cash.
  • The song “At My Job” by Dead Kennedys: “Time card says that your name’s Joe / But we’ll call you 6-3-0”
  • "10538 Overture" by the Electric Light Orchestra is about an escaped prisoner who is referred to only by his number: "Did you see the man, was it 10538?"
  • In Genesis's The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, the song, "The Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging" quotes:
    Everyone's a sales representative
    Wearing slogans in their shrine
    Dishing out failsafe superlative
    Brother John is number nine
  • The Hollies released an album called Five Three One Seven Seven Zero Four. Try it on a calculator and turn it upside down.
  • Iron Maiden's "The Prisoner", which even has the first quote on this page as the intro.
  • "Down in the Park" by Gary Numan and the Tubeway Army has these lyrics:
    Down in the park where the machmen meet
    The machines are playing kill-by-numbers
    Down in the park with a friend called "Five"
  • The Powerman 5000 song "Son of X-51" is about a robot who wants a name, not just an identification number. Its designation is the song's title.
  • "Secret Agent Man" by Johnny Rivers, which served as the theme song for Danger Man (the predecessor to the show The Prisoner).
    They've given you a number and taken away your name.
  • Bob Seger angrily rails against this in "Feel Like a Number".
  • The members of the band Slipknot chose the single-digit numbers zero through eight as their stage names.
  • They Might Be Giants' song "Albany/The Egg", gently making fun of the titular venue's futuristic design, includes the line "I am a number, not a man."
  • Two of the best-known songs by reggae band Toots & The Maytals are "54-46 (That's My Number)" and its sequel "54-46 Was My Number". Both are autobiographical songs based on singer Fred "Toots" Hibbert's imprisonment for marijuana possession.
  • Vocaloid: The Character Vocal series uses numbers to designate which voice banks were released when. Hatsune Miku is CV01, Kagamine Rin/Len are collectively CV02, and Megurine Luka is CV03.
  • The Who's song "905".

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Syxx was the sixth man to join the nWo on WCW Monday Nitro.
  • Back in the territory days, it was not uncommon for the members of masked tag teams like the Cruel Connection, the Shadows, the Assassins or the Thunderfoots to be named (tag team name) #1 and #2.
  • There was once Tag Team Twins called the Clones, whose names were "237" and "238".
  • The Dark Order has numbered members, with two referred to mainly or exclusively by numbers and a third occasionally referenced in this way. 10 (Preston Vance), 5 (Alan Angels) fall in the first category. The young son of late leader Brodie Lee*, now the stable's titular leader, is still referred to sometimes as –1 (or spelled out as "Negative One"), but is now usually called Mr. Brodie Lee Jr.

  • Dimension X: In "Hello Tomorrow", specimen XJ12 is a Mutant with a twisted leg. Because he is not "genetically perfect", he is given a label instead of a name. His name is actually Orin.
  • As an old joke from the The Goon Show has it:
    Radio: Calling B4; come in, B4; why don't you answer, B4?
    Bluebottle: Because I didn't hear you before!

  • This is a part of Four Tee's backstory on NoPixel. Before escaping to Los Santos, she spent her entire life isolated in what she calls "the black box," and frequently tells others that her keepers only ever called her "40." Upon escaping, and with no knowledge of her real name — if she even had one to begin with — she names herself after her number.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The agloolik, a race of arctic feykith from the Cerulean Seas setting (Pathfinder), use names that incorporate a number, a familial suffix, and possibly a prefix indicating their affinity with destruction (as opposed to invention).
  • Some of the warforged in Eberron are known by number.
  • Isaac Asimov's Robots: This game downplays Isaac Asimov's habit of assigning robots serial numbers. Each Sammy-type model of robot has a number emblazoned on their front for identification purposes, but normal names are used in actual conversation.
  • One The Lord of the Rings card game did this with the Nazgûl. Rather than trying to give them individual names, it simply named all the non-Witch King wraiths after the elvish words for two through nine.
  • Magic: The Gathering has the Phyrexian outcast Xantcha. She explains in the novel Planeswalker that "Xantcha" in Phyrexian is the number of the box she was assigned to sleep in. One of her first acts of rebellion was to continue thinking of herself as "Xantcha" after being moved to a different position, turning it into a personal name rather than the designator of an interchangeable part.
    • The dryad planeswalker Wrenn has needed to maintain permanent bonds with trees (meanings she's more like a hamadryad) ever since her sparking left her with a constant internal burn (being in a tree controls the damage and aids in countervailing healing). While bonding with a tree gives it sentience and some sapience, it doesn't add a sense of self-naming that it didn't start with in the first place. The sequential numbers she gives them (in Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, she disengages from Six to let him finally rest as an ordinary oak again, and accepts and bonds with Seven) are simply all the naming that the trees themselves personally need, and the numbering does nothing to depersonalize them for her.
  • In Paranoia, all citizens have names like John-R-ZAE-3 (Red security clearance, home sector ZAE, third member of his clone family, i.e. the first two already died and had their memories transplanted). If it's a Punny Name, then occasionally the number is part of it (like Woody-G-UTH-3 writing music for vidshows).
  • Warhammer 40,000: Some Guard regiments issue numbers to their soldiers, presumably due to the high turnover. Dawn of War has an example in the Flavor Text of the Jungle Walls map:
    "But sir, this jungle, it feels like it's closing in on us. I can't take it any longer, it's like walls are closing in on us!" - such is noted by Commissar Caern as the traitorous actions of Guardsman 11689 prior to summary execution.

  • Elmer Rice's stage play The Adding Machine, a surrealist fantasy written in the 1920s and still performed frequently, is about a hopeless non-entity who works in a corporation where all the employees have numbers for names. His name is Mister Zero, signifying that he is the lowliest person of all...not just in the company, but in the larger society as well.
  • In The Consul, this is invoked by the Secretary in her first scene, where she repeatedly tells the protagonist, "Your name is a number." Exactly which number is never specified, though. It's later subverted by showing that the Secretary can recall names, but prefers not to since it interferes with her duties.
  • Claude from the musical Hair at one point gives an emotional speech about how being drafted for duty in Vietnam has reduced him from a human being to just another number on a goverment filing system.
  • The song "Close Every Door" from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat addresses Nazi concentration camps with "Just give me a number, instead of my name/ forget all about me, and let me decay..."
  • Les Misérables:
    • Already found under Literature, but worth mentioning again.
      "My name is Jean Valjean!"
    • It is especially worth a second mention since Javert addresses Valjean as 24601 more often than using his actual name.
  • A variant drawn from Real Life in The Permanent Way, which dramatises the aftermath of several major British train disasters. The Bereaved Mother states that she doesn't think she'd have started campaigning if her son wasn't simply referred to as "Body No 6".

    Video Games 
  • The eponymous protagonist of 3 in Three. She literally is the number 3, so it's as much a job description as a name.
  • In Ace Combat games, if you're not referred to by callsign, you'll be referred to by squadron name and number. Some, like Mobius One, don't even get a callsign.
  • In Akatsuki Blitzkampf, several people refer to Akatsuki himself as "Experiment One" rather than by his name. Specially notorious in the case of his war boddy of sorts Fritz and his former Bad Boss Murakumo.
  • Aliens vs. Predator (2010) has three distinct campaigns. One of them sees you playing as Six, an Alien known by the trademark numeral printed on its forehead at, er, birth.
  • In ANNO: Mutationem, Ann Flores was once known as just "Subject 06" by the Circle Consortium and they won't hesitate to refer to her as that, despite having long since been given a proper name.
  • Armored Core:
    • As stated above, AC gives us Hustler 1 and Nine Ball. Armored Core 2 and Another Age also give us Nine Ball Seraph. Somewhat subverted with Hustler 1, in that there's an untold number of him scattered throughout the world (and some on Mars too), and every last one of them is referred to by the exact same name...
    • If that last part doesn't scare anybody, the fact that Nineball is an Ensemble Dark Horse for the series through sheer Nintendo Hard, should. In fact, there is a title in-verse named specifically after Nineball ("Ninebreaker") simply because he was the one who held the position of #1 pilot the longest.
    • In addition, in the original Armored Core, if you went into debt after screwing up enough missions, you would sell your body to science. This would give your character new benefits in the AC and reset the game to the beginning. It was a way of the game giving you a second chance to get better. After going through the "plus" operation, your character would be renamed "RebelXXX". The three numbers were random.
  • We have Subject 16 in Assassin's Creed, though it's later revealed that his name is Clay Kaczmarek.
  • Azur Lane:
    • Stemming from the Kriegsmarine's lack of names for their destroyers and U-boats, the Ironblood destroyers based on them, being Z18 and onwards, as well as all eight of their submarines and the submarines of the Sakura Empire do not have a historic ship name and are thus referred to only by their designation.
    • Special mention to Z23, who the community often refers to by the Goroawase Number reading "Nimi".
    • Z46 points this out in her questline and quotes, urging you to give her a name through the Oath marriage mechanic, implying "Weiss" as her choice. It should be noted that at least in German, this would not solve the issue, as Weiss is not a typical name, despite pop cultural suggestions to the contrary.
  • Hifumi from beatmania IIDX 14 GOLD, although the kanji is different.
  • In Beyond Good & Evil, the AI in Jade's computer/inventory pack is named Secundo. One wonders if he's an upgraded version of her old unit.
  • BlazBlue:
    • Iron Tager, a Hollywood Cyborg whose code number was TR-00009. Guess that's where they come up with the name "Tager."
    • ν-13. One Greek letter, one ominous number.
    • And Nu's predecessors, λ-11 and μ-12 aka Noel Vermillion.
  • In Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter, the "names" of the dragons, er, "D-Constructs" are simply numbers in Gratuitous Russian. "Odjn" (One), "Dva" (Two, mistranslated as "Dover", and Chetyre (Four). Guess which one is the Big Bad. The D-Ratio is a part of everyone's name unless they're fugitives on the run (Lin and Trinity), the Regents or those so far low on the social hierarchy that they're considered experimental animals (Nina). Meaning Ryu's legal name is Ryu 1/8192.
  • Robo from Chrono Trigger used to have a mere serial number for a name (R-66Y), but Marle thought that made him see more like a thing than a person and renamed him. His real name is actually Prometheus, which also becomes important in Chrono Cross — there's a reason the friendly supercomputer encountered at Chronopolis is named the Prometheus Circuit.
  • Dead or Alive has Alpha-152, because she's just one of many subjects from a cloning/gene manipulation project. Also, Nicole-458, because she's one of the Halo Spartans (see below).
  • Deadly Rooms of Death: Everyone's names in the rooted empire is directly tied to their job. The main antagonist in Journey to the Rooted Hold is named 39th Slayer, making him the 39th person who is still alive to have the job of slayer. If a job holder dies, everyone behind them get their number increased by one. Jobless citizens are also nameless.
  • The Exos in Destiny have a name followed by a number (Cayde-6, Banshee-44, etc). The number is for how many times they're been rebooted since their initial construction.
  • The title character of Destroy All Humans!, Cryptosporidium-137. All Furons are referred to by the number of their current cloned incarnation. Which means yes, Crypto has managed to die 136 times prior to the game.
  • In Deus Ex, one Woman In Black in the service of MJ12 charged with watching over the cathedral in Paris is known as Adept 34501. A book reveals that she discarded her name a long time ago.
  • In The Elder Scrolls, according to The Pocket Guide to The Empire (a work of debatable accuracy), the Altmer (High Elves) of the Summerset Isles don't bother to give themselves names. When they greet, they address one another with a long combination of numbers that sounds like a name if you aren't fluent in their language.
  • Fable II: "You are number 273. That number is not randomly assigned. It is because I have broken 272 guards already. And I will break you."
  • Fallout:
    • The Garys in Fallout 3.
    • In Fallout 4, Institute synths are referred to by a serial number (eg: H2-22). Factions that believe them to be sentient allow them to choose names, but the Institute itself doggedly sticks to numbers as part of its "Just a Machine" rhetoric.
    • In Fallout: New Vegas:
      • You are Courier Six.
      • In the "Old World Blues" DLC, there is Dr. 0, though his name is confused for Dr. O by his compatriots.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VI has two numbered bosses in the Magitek Research Facility. Number 24 is a human-like construct that attacks the party just before the chamber with the Espers in People Jars and changes its elemental weaknesses. Number 128 attacks the party on the railway escape route, and is a large purple monster with two claws.
    • Final Fantasy VII:
      • There's the various Sephiroth clones distinguished by their Number Tattoos. It's not entirely clear if their creator, Hojo, meant for Red XIII to be part of this sequence.
      • And the point where Cloud asks Hojo to give him a number when he believes he is one of those clones. He is visibly (even more) dejected when Hojo spurns his request, disgusted that only an experiment he deemed a "failure" had succeeded as a clone.
    • Subverted by the black mages of Final Fantasy IX. Except for Vivi, they are all known by their numbers (Mr. 234, Black Mage No. 12, etc.), but this actually serves to humanize them as they begin developing their own personalities. They deliberately seem to adopt the numbers as their names, even going so far as to introduce themselves this way to strangers.
    • Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker has the Omicrons, a race of extraterrestrial robots who all have designations like N-7000 or M-017. Omega reveals that these names actually do hold meaning: Each refers to a celestial body of some sort. In particular, "M-017" equates to what Eorzeans would refer to as the "Omega" nebula.
    • Class Zero of Final Fantasy Type-0 has a general gambling/playing cards motif theme for all members sans Machina and Rem, who lack Code Names. This leads to nine of the group's 14 members falling into this trope: Ace, Deuce, Trey, Cater, Cinque, Sice, Seven, Eight, and Nine. note 
  • Fire Emblem:
    • The names of the Twelve Dark Warlords in the Japanese version of Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War are the numbers one to twelve in German. In most other languages, the Deadlords are instead named for the Latin equivalents of the signs of the Chinese Zodiac.
    • Replacement characters in the eleventh game are also numbered... sort of. (In the Japanese version, they're straight-up numbers — and in German again; the English release has something vaguely based on numbers, though it's difficult to figure out exactly how. Reportedly, if you get enough of these, they stop using numbers and start making fun of the player.)
  • Alpha 1 is the player character in all FreeSpace games. Justified, as the player is the leader of Alpha Wing, and works for the military.
  • Get in the Car, Loser!: Angels are only referred to as the Nth Arm, where N is their number in the Divine Order. The NPC angels refer to Angela as the Thirty-Second Arm and no other name, implying her non-number name is something she gained upon joining the party.
  • The Tactical Dolls in Girls' Frontline employed by Griffin & Kryuger are identified with the weapon they're linked with, leading to names such as M4A1, OTs-12, and M91/38; several of them had names before enlisting and some prefer to be identified with their old names. The weapon-based identification is company policy.
  • GRID Legends features the Player Character who is Only Known by Their Nickname by characters, and they call them "Driver 22".
  • Half-Life 2:
    • You know you're really stickin' it to the man when you get an official title slapped on you like Anticitizen One.
    • While only vaguely referenced, City 17's citizens are implied to have numbers. One chapter in the game is titled "Anti-Citizen One", in reference to the man with the crowbar.
  • Halo:
    • The Spartan-IIs. Notable examples include Kurt-051, Linda-058, Kelly-087, Fred-104, and of course, John-117, better known as Master Chief.
    • The Forerunner AI constructs may count as well; see 343 Guilty Spark and 2401 Penitent Tangent. This also counts as an Arc Number, given Bungie's penchant for the number seven (343=7*7*7, 2401=7*7*7*7).
    • Spartan-IIIs are named similarly to the IIs, but they also feature a letter depending on the company (e.g. Emile-A239, Lucy-B091, Ash-G099), with the letters being the Latin initials of Greek letters (Alpha, Beta, Gamma).
    • In Halo: Reach, player character SPARTAN-B312 is known only as Noble Six, as the sixth member of Noble Team. The other five members, in order of numbers, are Carter-A259 (1), Catherine-B320 (2), Jun-A266 (3), Emile-A239 (4), and Jorge-052 (5).
  • Heaven's Vault: Aliya names her robots with numbers, for the order she's recieved them. The current one is Six.
  • Hitman:
    • Agent 47. Even though it's a code number (as reflected by the barcode number on the back of his head; 6405-0509-0147), we never do learn his name. The reason given for his number is that he is the 47th genetically-engineered assassin produced by Professor Ort-Meyer, and he killed all of the others. Well, he thought so until he met 17... and then killed him.
    • There is also Subject 6, The Shadow Client, who was revealed to be a clone like 47 in Hitman 2.
  • The player character in the obscure 3DO game Immercenary is known simply as "Number Five." The character's deceased predecessor was, of course, "Number Four". While it is set in a dystopian world, the designation seems to just be an excuse not to give the character a name.
  • Horizon Forbidden West isn't technically an example, using a Greek letter instead of a number. Beta is a perfect genetic copy of Player Character Aloy, made at the same time (and for the same reasons) as her. Unlike Aloy, Beta was treated as a tool by her masters, the crew of the Far Zenith from birth; it's implied that no other humans even bothered to talk to her face to face until she was almost twenty. The contrast between Aloy and Beta's personalities is a central theme of the game, with Aloy (being raised apart from her tribe, but by Rost, who cleared cared for her, even if he wasn't the most obvious about it) having the same headstrong, problem-solving attitude of Elisabet Sobeck, and Beta being cowardly and pessimistic from a life of subjugation.
  • In Immortal Souls the Templars insist on calling all their captured shadow creatures and monsters by their test subject numbers, even the sentient ones. This really starts ticking off the main character after a while.
    Desmond: Subject 2401, you must obey-!
    John: For the last time, my name is John! @&#*! Turner!
  • The King of Fighters: The first two Kyo clones, Kyo-1 and Kyo-2, have no proper names aside from their number. Another clone, who debuted two games later, would logically be called Kyo-9999, but it's shortened to K9999 until he eventually took on the proper name of Krohnen.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Organization XIII's members are given a number based on the order they joined. In order: I. Xemnas, II. Xigbar, III. Xaldin, IV. Vexen, V. Lexaeus, VI. Zexion, VII. Saïx, VIII. Axel, IX. Demyx, X. Luxord, XI. Marluxia, XII. Larxene, XIII. Roxas, XIV. Xion. Vexen sometimes addresses other members by only their number and admonishes some of the higher-numbered members for their lack of respect towards him even though their numbers only indicate seniority, not their actual standing in the Organization's hierarchy.
    • Xion is a double example. She shares Organization XIII's number theme but even her "real" name is a number; her serial number designation in the Replica Program is "No. i" aka the imaginary number. Saïx outright tells Roxas that's why they never bothered to rename themselves Organization XIV.
    • One of the major reveals in Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance] is that the true plan for Organization XIII was to gather up Nobodies and implant them with (Master) Xehanort's heart, effectively turning them into Xehanort as part of a greater plot to obtain the power of Kingdom Hearts. The combination of various defections and betrayals within the group and Sora and Riku thinning out their ranks throughout Chain of Memories and II ultimately derailed this, forcing a time-displaced, younger incarnation of Xehanort to gather up various versions of himself throughout history along with others who had been successfully turned into Xehanort vessels (many of whom were affiliated with the previous Organization) as a backup plan. By Kingdom Hearts III, Organization XIII is reassembled, now known as the "real" Organization XIII and the Thirteen Seekers of Darkness. Not counting a handful of reserve members, the order now goes: I. Master Xehanort, II. Ansem, Seeker of Darkness (aka Xehanort's Heartless), III. Xemnas, IV. Xigbar, V. Luxord, VI. Larxene, VII. Marluxia, VIII. Saix, IX. Terra-Xehanort, X. Dark Riku (aka Riku Replica), XI. Vanitas, XII. Young Xehanort, XIII. Xion. Sora was originally meant to be the thirteenth member, though when the attempt to convert him failed in 3D, Xion was reconstituted using Vexen's research to serve as a substitute.
  • Towards the end of Kirby and the Forgotten Land, Kirby finds his way to Lab Discovera, where an announcer cheerfully recants the tale of "Specimen ID-F86", an evil alien who once attacked the Forgotten Land before they were captured by scientists and studied for decades on end. His new friend Elfilin is the Enemy Without of this alien, and was similarly designated "Specimen ID-F87".
  • The Legendary Starfy: In Densetsu no Stafy 2, the Puchi Oguras are just named Puchi Ogura #1 to #10, with the number matching up with the world and order you fight them in.
  • The main character of Little Nightmares is called Six. And the player character in the prequel is named Mono (One).
  • Jack in Mass Effect 2 is called "Subject Zero" in her dossier.
  • The Big Good in Master Detective Archives: Rain Code is called "Number One", the leader of the World Detective Organization. Though the position is chosen by election, any detective who adopts the title is usually made anonymous, and any member working in the organization can be elected for the position.
  • Zero from the Mega Man X and Mega Man Zero games. While he's said to be the last of the Wily Numbers in the Japanese version of Mega Man X2 and has the serial number DWN.∞ (as seen in Area X-2 of Mega Man Zero 3), the name might relate to the fact that he is "patient zero" for the Maverick virus.
  • Drebin from Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots claims to belong to an organization entirely staffed by people named Drebin. He in particular is Drebin 893 (however, since he is the only Drebin that appears in the game, he's always referred to as Drebin). Presumably, all Drebins are referred to as Drebin, regardless of their number. The Database of MGS implies this as well.
  • Metroid Dread has the boss monster Experiment No. Z-57, a bio-engineered creation of the Mawkin Chozo. Considering the creature is first seen by Samus still "under construction" in Dairon and only wakes up after getting possessed by the X Parasites, it's likely that the Mawkin simply never had a chance to give it a proper name before that point.
  • Parodied in Nothing to Hide's gameplay trailer in which the protagonist is called Citizen Number Something.
  • In Not Tonight, the closest thing that the player character has to a name is "112", the number assigned to them when they were moved to the Relocation Block.
  • One Dog Story: The titular dog came from a stasis pod that had 20-43 written on it. When a scientist asks him his name, he reasons that 20-43 is it.
  • No. 9, the Gunblade-toting undead cyborg Big Bad of Parasite Eve 2.
  • Pillars of Dust: The robot mercenary is simply named #0005, which is likely its model number
  • Planescape: Torment has a man coming from a city of metal whose only possessions were his name and his number. When he offered to share his number with a suffering woman, she stole both. Depending on how you resolve the situation, you may actually claim the number for yourself; it takes the form of a tattoo and offers protection (because there's safety in numbers).
  • In P.N.03, the game's title is derived from Vanessa being the third clone of who appears to be the Client. In one level, another clone (thought to be P.N.02) is discovered in a People Jar, shortly after which the area self-destructs.
  • The Ultra Beasts in Pokémon Sun and Moon are assigned codenames consisting of numbers; UB-03: Lighting, UB-02: Absorption, UB-05: Glutton, etc. Once the player captures them, they're given proper names that lack numbers.
  • Roku from pop'n music. The trope literally defines his name — roku is japanese word for 6. Also, his name written in game is , which is the kanji that stands for number six.
  • In Portal Reloaded, you play as Test Subject 4509.
  • Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale: From the translation notes on Tielle's name:
    The original site for the game, however, indicates a bit of a different spelling than you’d expect at first: "Tiers". That is, the French word for "third". When we spoke with EGS, we found out that this referred to her place in her family; that is, she was literally the third of three sisters.
  • All Pre-Cals in République are given an alphanumerical designation, such as 390-H and 933-W. You help 390-H, who calls herself Hope, to escape the facility, after her friend Weep (933-W) has already been "recalibrated."
  • Richman 11 has a playable character named Eleven, who is an adventurer who travel around the most dangerous places in the world and make videos about them.
  • Shining Force III, in the third scenario, houses a recruitable dragon character known only as Thousand. In scenario two, there's a birdman named Zero.
  • The Player Character in the Splatoon games gains a number upon joining the New Squidbeak Splatoon, but this usually just a codename. This trope is played straight with the protagonist of Splatoon 2's Octo Expansion, however, since they are an amnesiac Octoling whose only identifying information is a pair of neon yellow bands on their wrist and ankle designating them as Applicant No. 10008. They're recruited as Agent 8 by Cap'n Cuttlefish and later go on to use "Eight" as their given name (for lack of anything else) in subsequent appearances.
  • Star Wars:
  • Street Fighter:
    • From Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, there is Twelve, a living weapon developed by Gill's Illuminati to hunt down and destroy Necro. Street Fighter V introduced one of Twelve's prototypes, Eleven, who was eventually repurposed as material to use in the resurrection of Charlie Nash after his death in Alpha 2.
    • Seth from Street Fighter IV is actually part of a mass-produced series of identical clones; they are the only one of the group to develop their own personality (thus insisting on their given name) and hates being called by their number. In this case, they're number 15, and the copy that is fought in their story is number 21. Abel is also implied to be either the original model for Seth's creation, or that Abel is a defective, human clone rather than a machine, in which case Seth is the original. Capcom has unfortunately left the characters' endings a little too open-ended.
  • Played twice in Super Robot Wars:
    • The W Numbers (including Lamia Loveless, Echidna Iisaki, Wodan Ymir, Aschen Broedel, Harken Browning), named after the sequence in the order they were created. However, its creator Lemon wanted to make them look 'more human' thus gave them names, despite the tendency of Vindel using their numbers (though to be honest, Lamia made up her own name)
    • The School tends to give their students numerical codenames, which start with a metal name, followed by a number. The member of the School staff who was not evil gave them regular names later. Ouka Nagisa was called Aurum 1. Same thing applies to Arado Balanga (Bronzo 27), Seolla Schweitzer (Bronzo 28) and Latooni (Latooni 11, because Cuervo never thought up a name for her) Subota.
  • In the original System Shock, the protagonist is referred to either as "Hacker" or his Employee number, 2-4601.
  • Tales of Berseria has a Malakhim that was introduced as simply "Number Two" that served an exorcist prior to being freed by the protagonist, Velvet. She would later give him a proper name: Laphicet, after her departed brother. In fact, the Abbey does this with all Malakhim under their control, as they don't consider them as having their own consciousness worthy of consideration. Your party rescues another Malakhim as well, who was known as "Number One," whom they name "Silva."
  • CR-S01 from Trauma Team. Real name: Erhard Muller.
  • In Unreal, the only indication that the player character has something to be called by is a computer message stating that "Prisoner 849 [is] escaping" when you exit your cell at the start of the game.
  • Valkyria Chronicles III follows the adventures of a military unit known as "The Nameless." All of the members (who are the player-controlled characters) have numbers for names.
  • White Noise 2: The returning supernatural creature from the first game is called "Subject 23."
  • In the video game adaptation of XIII, the main character has lost his memory and as he has the tattoo XIII on his arm that is what he's called throughout the game. It's also his codename in the secret plot.
  • Xeno series:
    • In Xenogears (the Spiritual Precursor to the titles listed below), Seibzehn and Achtzehn are the German words for "seventeen*" and "eighteen," respectively. In Gear shops, equipment for Seibzehn is even prefixed with "#17."
    • Xenosaga:
      • Cyborg mercenary Ziggurat-8. He simply goes by his designation until he meets Momo, who dubs him "Ziggy", which gives him his own identity.
      • All URTVs are given numbers from 1 to 669. The only ones with importance are 666 through 669, which are called the "Variants."
    • Fandom example: In the Xenoblade Chronicles 1 community, it's become common courtesy to refer to the seventh party member as Seven in spoiler-free conversation, as everything about them from their name down answers several of the plot's biggest driving questions and character arcs. Particularly considerate posts will even call Four, Five and Six this way (the first three aren't usually censored, being The Hero, The Lancer, and a character who joins you as soon as you meet).
    • Similarly, the fourth (permanent) driver that joins the party in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is referred to as Four for similarly (but not nearly as dramatically) spoilerriffic reasons as Seven above. Oddly, this is zig-zagged with the fifth driver, as promotional material really makes it obvious he joins the party later in the game, but is obfuscated by the previous driver joining first.
    • Xenoblade Chronicles 3: All the members of Colony 0 (a secret colony dedicated to black ops and subterfuge) are given numbers instead of names, raised from their birth to respond to them and nothing else. Sena starts jump-starting their character development by trying to give them actual names, starting with their leader, No. 7, whom she names "Segiri" (derived from the words "seven" and "onigiri", the food Sena gives the girl when they first meet).
    • Even Moebius seem to get in on this; each of them has a letter in place of a name, and Defiant Triton recounts how the others insist to him that his name is "T".
  • Test Subject No.367 in Yggdra Union, although everyone drops the "Test Subject" part. While Primea and Malice also have registration numbers (549 and some number over 1000, respectively), they're known primarily by their name/nickname.
  • Zombies, Run!:
    • The player character is assigned as "Runner Five" in the first mission. From then on, every other character calls them "Five" or "Runner Five." They are never referred to by name.
    • This is justified in that the app developers wanted to allow the player to totally immerse themselves in the game. All of the other Runners were also assigned numbers to keep the theme going.
    • Mission 13 also brings us Arthur Gurkhan, much more commonly known as Patient 29 or Patient Zero, depending on the context of the conversation.
  • In Zoo Tycoon, the default names of the animals you adopted are basically "[Species Name] [Number]." This is averted in the game's spiritual successor, Planet Zoo, where animals have names common in countries and regions in which they occur.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth has Shi-Long Lang ordering his subordinates to count off. They do so, shouting "1!", "2!", "3!", etc., only for him to cut them off and berate them for doing it wrong. All his men are number one in his book! Later in the game, he orders then to count off again, and this time they do so "properly", shouting "1!", "1!", "1!", etc.
  • In Marco & the Galaxy Dragon, the inmates of Gold Cord’s underground prison are assigned numbers based on the length of their sentence.
    682: I'm a beast with a 682 year sentence.
  • Gnosia: SQ's name translates to 511, as she's supposed to be Manan's 511th body.
  • Part Time Job has the four mental hospital patients mostly be referred to as "Patient #[number]", with the numbers going from 1 to 4. Their real names are given and often used by the protagonist, Pastel, but the head of the hospital, Fluttershy, seems to prefer using just the numbers despite two of the patients being her best friends. Pastel at one point corrects Fluttershy, trying to get her to say Lyra instead of Patient #4. Fluttershy ignores her.
  • Assassins trained by Scythe in Phantom of Inferno get named after German numbers: thus Ein, Zwei, Drei and so on.
  • In Sunrider, The Prototypes have alphanumeric designations like L7NN and 4L1C3 instead of proper names, though the latter takes the name "Alice" for herself. Chigara is referred to as Prototype C8 by their leader Alpha.
  • Tsukihime: Nrvnsqr Chaos certainly doesn't seem like an example of this trope...but that first name is actually roman numerals and it adds up to 666. The Church apparently decided to name him that as he doesn't really care about names anymore. Also, Nanako aka the Seventh Scripture. Presumably, there are at least six other scriptures...which are probably not alive like she is. Oh well.
  • Zero Escape:
    • In all three games, the mastermind behind the Deadly Game the characters have been forced to play adopts the alias "Zero."
    • Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors has each of the characters (but Junpei and the Ninth Man) adopt an alias based on the numbered bracelets they are wearing to keep their identities secret:
      • 1 = Ace (the playing card)
      • 2 = Snake (snake eyes on a pair of dice; extra meaningful since he's also blind and snakes can't see very well)
      • 3 = Santa ("san", the Japanese word for "three")
      • 4 = Clover (a four-leaf clover)
      • 6 = June (the sixth month of the year)
      • 7 = Seven (seven)
      • 8 = Lotus (a flower with eight petals)
    • In Virtue's Last Reward, one route has you meet a GAULEM (a type of android) who philosophizes about how GAULEMs and humans aren't too different, right down to having "names". He uses the last four letters of his serial code, G-OLM, as his name, because it would be stupid for people to just call him "GAULEM"... only to then realize that his name is pronounced exactly the same as it. In the Japanese version, his name is 506 (pronounced as "go-rei-mu").

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner:
    • "New Boots" exaggerates the trope; an unseen character who took Homestar Runner's shoe is referred to as 1,000,000.
    • In Strong Bad E-Mail #122, Strong Bad imagines himself being contacted by "128 Hot Katies". He points out Katie 80 as someone it's "especially ]...[ good to hear from".
    • The "Characters from Yonder Website" from the eponymous short (who are all stick figure versions of the main characters) are only identified by number: Character 1 is Strong Bad, Character 2 is Homestar, and so on.
  • The Society depicted in Lucky Day Forever simply use numbers for the Proles, but the Whites prefix their numbers with letters.
  • Season 18 of Red vs. Blue has One, so called because she's the top recruit of Shatter Squad. The villain who provides the season's Antagonist Title is Zero because he used to be the One in the Shatter Squad predecessor.
  • In Villager News, all of the villagers are named "Villager #", and the show is hosted by Villager #4.

  • In Blood Bank, the workers at the titular bank go by numbers, with One being the protagonist and Thirteen his rival. The dehumanizing aspect of this is discussed in-story when One rages against the systemic mistreatment of humans.
  • Seventeen from Camp Weedonwantcha showing that at this point her parents just gave up on naming their kids.
  • A meta-example in Depression Comix. All of the characters in the comic are numbered according to initial appearance and whether they're a depressed character or a satellite (non-depressed) character.
  • Follower: The Chio have IDs assigned by the base staff that are usually shortened to a few numbers like "23-3". Averted with the Chio themselves, who have names for each other in their own language.
  • Gender Swapped: In the Borderverse, the original 18 psychics are given the name "Psychic" and then the number they are in sequence. All of them have since adopted more common names (but only first names, no sir names) and only use their original title as a codename, for instance Michael is Psychic 13 and Gabriel is Psychic 7. The last of the originals, Psychic 19, has no new name, and is only called by the name "19". Except for Michael, who continues to call her different names until he finds one she likes.
  • The Greys in General Protection Fault are a clone race who are all assigned multi-digit numbers rather than names. Conveniently, all the important Grey characters have numbers that happen to have shorter referrents in human mathematics or physics, so humans use these as nicknames. (The two main ones are Pi and Planck.) Because Humanity Is Infectious, the Greys have started using these names themselves.
  • One of the Castle Heterodyne prisoners in Girl Genius is an apparent construct named R-79. There used to be an R-78 and R-76 but they were "broken" by OTHAR TRYGGVASSEN, Gentleman Adventurer!
  • The titular character of Henchman Number 9 is never given a name, but is referred to as either number 9 or by the full title "Henchman Number 9," except for his girlfriend who never says his name.
  • A cleverly disguised version* appears in Housepets!: a mouse named Spo came from a very large family. How large? The sibling born immediately after him was named Spp...
  • Jack contains Fiver, a reference to Watership Down, who calls himself 72, and the titular character, who was once number zeronote .
  • Last Res0rt has Gabriel playing this on Jigsaw, dubbing her "Patient Zero". Of course, that's not really in reference to a numerical thing...
  • In Linburger, on Slipshine, all non-human citizens of the city of Collision are assigned numbers instead of last names.
  • All the spacefuture Super Soldiers in Manly Guys Doing Manly Things technically only have serial numbers, but they very rarely see any use outside of official paperwork. The main character is technically named D37-9E-B52 but was given the moniker "Commander Badass" for propaganda purposes. In his personal life, he goes either by his rank (Commander) or his chosen name Rock Lobster ("It was that or 'Love Shack'").
  • All of the minions in Minions At Work, except for the penguin.
  • Mystery Babylon:
    • The young priest of Vesta who joins with joins Kick Girl's group is named Zero.
    • Kick Girl's true name is Six, though she reacts very negatively to its use and insists That Man Is Dead.
  • All the Rippers in Namesake give up their names and are assigned a two-digit number when they begin working for One. This gets a little confusing, as most of them also have a nickname like Trinket or Fish to use in an unofficial capacity — and we already know a few of their original names anyway.
  • Seven in Off-White. Though it's not for dehumanizing purposes. She just hated her real name.
  • Three from A Path to Greater Good, a case of Only Known by Their Nickname since writing the number 3 is his answer to any question.
  • Peter Is the Wolf: Aminal Control, a group in the government who monitor and when possible kidnap werewolves or other werebeasts, uses a letter-number code for each of the werewolves in the main characters' pack. Newly transformed werewolf Sarah is designated U-4, Deputy Sheriff Gus Kramer is K-1, and his daughter is K-2.
  • The main characters of Romantically Apocalyptic are known by their job—Captain, Sniper, Pilot, and Engineer. As the series goes on, the characters' real names have been revealed...except for the enigmatic Captain, who has only been identified as "Test Subject Seven" in a research project trying to find the luckiest person in the world.
  • All of the patients in Ruby Quest have Subject Numbers, which are used to refer to them in most notes (usually they're called by their actual names in person). A list:
    • Stitches is Subject #1.
    • Maddie is Subject #2.
    • Lucy is Subject #3.
    • Jay is Subject #4.
    • Tom is Subject #5 or at least, that's what the players thought for most of the quest. He's really Subject #6, and the person they thought was Subject #6 was really Subject #5.
    • Tom Nook is Subject #6, and is often referred to by his number even though it's wrong due to problems with the One-Steve Limit.
    • Ruby is Subject #7.
    • Daisy is Subject #8.
  • RPG World has Galgarion's evil soldiers, specifically #347.
  • Schlock Mercenary gives us A.I.s with names like 5er0, Ga6n, 10001100hae50 (and his batch-sister 10001100he5050e, proving it isn't a compression or disambiguation algorithm), 6100tor, A50ger0, A5050en, and 500a6500. Replace those arabic numerals with roman (and 0 becomes 'non') and 5o49a!
  • The Adorable Murder Turtles in Skin Horse. The main one we see is #12. Renard is surprised that they're content just using their assigned numbers, and #12 explains that of course they're not; he had it changed from #18.
    Renard: You're a rebel, #12.
    #12: the original #12 is now #256. she's out there!
  • Sluggy Freelance:
    • In the 4U City storyline, everyone living in the city is known by a number instead of a name, with the exception of "His Masterness." This dehumanises the residents and also integrates them into a robotically-run bureaucratic system, although people choose not to call each other by their original regular names but by nicknames based off their number; a character assigned a number beginning 536 is nicknamed "nickle-three-six".
    • The Borg example is parodied in a sci-fi filler storyline: "Hi, I'm 1 of 3. This is my brother, 2 of 3. And my other brother, 2 of 3.
  • Every one of the Students in the Strange School.
  • In They Say I Was Born a King's Daughter, the slaves on the plantation that Sanghee visits have numbers that they address each other by.
  • Tower of God: Twenty-Fifth Bam *, of course. He was named after his birthday and grew up trapped in a cave, and that all what's really known about him.
  • In Trying Human the members of the government orginization "Majestic 12" all refer to themselves by their numbers. 6, who is an engineered lifeform, might not even have an alternative name.
  • In one Warrior U strip, The Headmaster gave numbers to the students so he wouldn't have to learn their names. Finn's number was 666 and Harv's was 404.

    Web Originals 
  • ERK-147 in Chrono Hustle.
  • Goncharov is said to be written and directed by Matteo JWHJ0715, which has led to jokes about his mother being Italian, his father being a license plate, and speculation that this was an alias Martin Scorsese (on paper merely the producer) used while directing.
  • Inglip: It's naming day for the new Gropagas. Alongside Kathy and Phoother Payulter Nowillis Termito, we have... Twat 271.
  • Patient #11 from lonelygirl15 Season 2, and Patient #12 from KateModern: The Last Work. Both have names that are eventually revealed, but since the Order regard them as nothing more than test subjects, they refer to them only by their patient numbers.
  • The Angels of Open Blue take after Halo's Spartans in their naming conventions.
  • SCP Foundation:
    • All catalogued SCPs are referred to by number whether or not they're human/sapient, in order to avoid becoming too close to Reality Warpers and other people and things of mass destruction. Human test subjects are also referred to by number.
    • For security reasons the thirteen overseers who run the Foundation are referred to as O5-1 through O5-13note , instead of using their names. On days when they're feeling a little extra paranoid even the numerical designation gets censored, so you can't tell which overseer made a particular decision.
  • Every single character in Survival of the Fittest has a number assigned to them by the terrorists. Their real name and number are often used in conjunction, although Bobby Jacks was once refered to explictly as 'B06' (the letter denotes gender).
  • Two from Tales of MU, who named herself for what the runes on her forehead appear to spell.
  • To Boldly Flee has The Nostalgia Chick dressed as a Seven of Nine parody, there named "Seven of Eleven".
  • Subject Five of Unlikely Eden, named because she was the fifth subject of a preliminary eugenics project.
  • In Worm, members of the Chinese superhero team Yàngbǎn are assigned numbers in place of their names.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time:
    • Jake falls down a hole and meets a bear who was stranded there on a floating raft. He claims his name is 7718, and had been stranded so long he had to carve his name on the floor in order to not forget it. However, the carving actually reads "BILL", and he had just read it upside down.
    • The "Islands" ministries reveals every human from the island colonies is given a coded designation. Finn's designation is P-G-8-7, while Susan's is K-J-7-7, although it's only apparently used for formal documentations as they're otherwise referred to only with regular names.
  • Number 88 and Number 89 of the Huntsclan, in American Dragon: Jake Long. All of the students are referred to as numbers in the Huntsclan training Academy, but even out of the Academy 88 and 89 were referred to as such.
  • Balance: The five humanoid figures precariously balanced atop the platform are numbered on the backs of their coats: 23, 35, 51, 75, and 77. They are otherwise completely identical.
  • Big Tim: When Tim is pulling a train that's been fitted with roller bearings, he passes by other locomotives who left before him, but were held back by Kid Friction: Numbers 66, 77, 88, and 99.
  • In the Bugs Bunny short Big House Bunny, when Bugs digs to Sing Song Prison (he was trying to escape the hunting grounds since it was rabbit season), the warden, Sam Schultz (played by Yosemite Sam), mistakes him for Prisoner 77174, but Bugs insists, "I'm not 77174. I'm only three and a half." So Schultz thereby makes him prisoner 3½.
    • In "Lighter Than Hare," Yosemite Sam of Outer Space sends robot ZX29B after Bugs. It doesn't end well for ZX29B.
  • The entire KND in Codename: Kids Next Door subscribes to this. Its operatives refer to one another by their given "numbuhs" in all except the most dire situations. Rather unusually for this trope, the numbers are self-assigned. This has led to Numbuh 65.3, Numbuh 74.239, Numbuhs 44a and 44b (a set of twins), and Numbuh T, amongst others. As for the main characters in Sector V, their real names either include their respective numbers or at least reference them: Nigel Uno (Spanish and Italian for "one"), Hoagie P. Gilligan, Jr. (second in his family to have that name), Kuki Sanban (Japanese for "third"), Wallabee Beatles (as in the Fab Four), and Abigail Lincoln (Abraham Lincoln appears on the American five-dollar bill).
  • Canadian animated series Cybersix has—surprise surprise!—heroine Cyber 6 herself, as well as her sidekick, Data 7, who also has the "real number" of Cyber 29 in his backstory.
  • Agent 57, Danger Mouse's "Master of Disguise".
  • Jenny Ten from Dex Hamilton: Alien Entomologist. It is eventually revealed that she is the tenth in a series of genetically engineered clones, when she encounters her 'sister' Jenny Eight.
  • In Ego Trip, The Movie of Dexter's Laboratory, Dexter travels to a Bad Future where Mandark is a Corrupt Corporate Executive and everyone has a number for name. Dexter's is 12.
  • In Frankenstein's Cat, the eponymous cat—who is called Nine—gets his name because he was constructed from parts from nine different cats.
  • Throughout the first two seasons of Futurama, there are cameo appearances by an elderly man with the number, 9, on his shirt. He was initially supposed to represent a fictional caste system in which a person's number determined their social status. This idea was eventually abandoned and, when he got a major role in the fourth film, the number served as his given name instead.
  • The Illuminati in Gargoyles, although members retain their civilian names in public.
  • Generator Rex has Agent Six. Unlike many other examples, this is not a demeaning tag, but a rank denoting him as the sixth most deadliest person on the planet. note  The dehumanizing factor, however, is still there. Between the suit and the lack of any name other than Six; rather than being demeaning, it suggests willing alienation and emotional detachment. (He has a Hidden Heart of Gold, but it's just that: hidden.)
  • Glitch Techs: Hector Nieves uses "Five" as his nickname, based on his gamer tag, "High Five". Even his family calls him Five, and most people don't know his real name.
  • In Gravity Falls, Dipper discovers a copy machine that can copy people, and sets out to duplicate himself to help at a party. He dubs each clone by number, except for the second clone, who didn't want to be called Number 2 and preferred Tyrone, and the fourth clone whose creation was warped by a paper jam, called Paper Jam Dipper.
  • In Highlander: The Animated Series, Kortan's subjects are all known just by numbers. Discovering that The Dragon is also a digit was a Wham Episode.
  • During her travels, the titular character of Katy Caterpillar meets Bee Number 5344 and, after a run-in with the Queen Bee:
    Queen: Perhaps you'd like to be a bee?
    Katy: Oh, do you think I could try? It seems like a very interesting life.
    Queen: You'll get a chance to find out how "interesting" it is, Number 6286.
    Katy: My name is Katy.
    Queen: It was Katy. From now on, you'll be Number 6286!
  • Synthodrone 901 alias Eric in Kim Possible.
  • Stitch from Lilo & Stitch was originally called Experiment 626. In The Series, only his creator Jumba regularly calls him that. Same thing happens to the other 625 experiments, to whom Lilo gives proper names after finding their one true place. Even then, Stitch's two immediate successors (627 and 628) were never given a name and still have this trope apply to them.
  • An episode of Megas XLR takes place on an idyllic prison planet full of evil/criminal giant robots all identified by number. Megas is mistaken for Number 12.
  • The title character of My Life as a Teenage Robot is a gynoid given the model number XJ-9 who decided to call herself the more human-seeming "Jenny". Her mother/creator Dr. Wakeman still calls her "XJ-9" most of the time, though with her motherly tone it doesn't really come off as degrading. Jenny's eight "sisters" are numbered — you guessed it — XJ-1 through XJ-8.
  • The basilisks from The Owl House were only designated with numbers. When introducing herself, Vee initially calls herself "Number 5", showing that the name Vee came from the Roman numeral V.
  • In "Phineas and Ferb's Quantum Booglaoo," when Future!Candace travels to an alternate Bad Future, where Doofenshmirtz has successfully taken over the Tri-State Area and has forced everyone to change their names to Joe, even the women, so that he doesn't have to bother learning everyone's name.
  • In the Ready Jet Go! episode "Freebird", a snow goose arrives in Jet's backyard, and he names it Hank. When more snow geese arrive, Jet names them Hank 2, Hank 3, and so on.
  • ReBoot featured literal living numbers, referred to by name, presumably to pull off some puns.
    Phong, in the golf episode: How's your back, Nine?
  • The Stonecutters in The Simpsons refer to each other by their ranked numbers. The trope naming example is also parodied (like the rest of the series), when Homer is imprisoned on the Island during the events of "The Computer Wore Menace Shoes", which is a parody of The Prisoner (1967). He insists on being a man instead of a number only until noticing the numbered pin on his shirt, after which he proceeds to mock Number Six (played by the man himself) for having a higher number.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The clone troopers' identification numbers are rarely used, with most going by names that are either self-bestowed or given by their brothers. The thing that really marks Pong Krell out as a jerkass in "Darkness on Umbara" is when he addresses the clones by number instead of name, seriously throwing off Rex:
    Krell: CT-7567, are you reading me?
    Rex: [obviously startled] ...E-excuse me, sir?
  • Star Wars: The Bad Batch generally seems to follow the trend that its predecessor set depicting clones that are affected by the Order 66 programming as numbers, and those who aren't by name.
    • Crosshair is first identified as "CT-9904" in the premier episode.
    • The Elite Squad and the TK troopers are inversions, as they're recruits instead of clones, but they go by by numerical designations. Lampshaded by Echo before either actually appear in the show.
      Echo: It's ironic. Clones wanted names instead of numbers, and now people are signing up to be given numbers.
  • Steven Universe:
  • Silkie/Larva M319 from Teen Titans (2003).
  • The Transformers: Two Sweeps are identified as "Sweeps Six and Seven" in the Season 3 episode "Call of the Primitives". This is the ONLY instance where Sweeps other than Scourge are given any kind of designation.
  • Henchmen 21 and 24 from The Venture Bros., not to mention the rest of the Monarch's henchmen. Though 21's real name is revealed very early on, and some characters refer to him as "Gary" on occasion.
  • The Wander over Yonder episode "The Bot" involves one of Lord Dominator's many Mecha-Mooks, Bot 13. All-Loving Hero Wander meets him, bonds with him and gives him the name "Beep Boop," and his Mook–Face Turn is signaled by his refusal to answer to his numerical "name" when Dominator orders him to give her the location of an inhabited planet she plans to destroy for its resources.
  • We Bare Bears: When Panda was a cub, he was kept in a breeding facility in China. He only knew himself as Panda #1, seeing as how that's what it said on his collar. When he was given a plush panda to help him feel less lonely, he named it Panda #2.

    Real Life 
  • In the Roman aristocracy, people didn't really have names as understood today and pretty much used their genealogical record, listing the name of their clan, family, and additional levels of branches within the family. To keep siblings apart, they were then given a number like first, second, or third. While men, unlike women, also had a given name, there were only about twelve that were shared by almost all the men.
    • Once the naming traditions loosened up and people began getting their own names, the numeronyms remained popular; this was the origin of names like "Sextus", meaning sixth. This probably started out because people got into the habit of giving elder sons the same personal name as their father, so breaking the birth-order link
    • "Octavius" is actually a clan name, not a personal name. The future emperor Augustus started out as Gaius Octavius, where Gaius is the absolutely bog-standard second-commonest of all personal names (basically the Roman version of "John" or "James" or "William") and "Octavius" is his clan name. He didn't have a third name (unlike Gaius Julius Caesar for example) because three names were a sign of prominent descent, and he wasn't from such a highfalutin background before GJC adopted him posthumously and he assumed his adopter's exact same name himself (as was customary in such circumstances.) Subsequently Romans distinguished them as Caesar the Dictator and Caesar Augustus.
    • Women didn't have formal individual personal names at all under the Republic. They were called by the feminine form of their clan name, so the future emperor's sister was just Octavia, Marcus Tullius Cicero's beloved daughter was Tullia etc. Two sisters might be distinguished as Major and Minor, and a third as Tertia etc in case of ambiguity.
  • The Aztecs had names like Rabbit 13—an animal or something followed by a number. What makes this example even weirder still was that these names were not names, but their day of birth according to the Aztec calendar - called the "Tonalpohualli" and heavily associated with their deities and rituals.
    • The Aztecs had two calendars (possibly three, if they used the Long Count). Names were taken from the ritual calendar, called the Tonalpohualli. "Rabbit" is best described as a month, although the Tonalpohualli does not count months in the same way as the Gregorian calendar we use today.
    • This practice sort of carried on after the Conquest: until roughly The '60s, common practice was to name people after the saint of someone's birthday. If you were born in the day of St. Paul, for example, your name was Paul.
  • Isoroku Yamamoto: Isoroku means "56", his father's age at Isoroku's birth.
  • The Nazis tattooed identification numbers on concentration camp inmates, particularly in the death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. In addition to allowing easy identification of corpses, the practice was also part of the Nazis' intent to dehumanize the Jews and other targeted minorities (the process was probably intended to be doubly humiliating for the Jews, as tattooing is forbidden in Judaism). Probably a Trope Codifier. Primo Levi's autobiographic book If This Is a Man (known in the U.S. as Surviving Auschwitz) addresses this aspect. In particular, one prisoner was so broken that he never spoke. So the others didn't know his real name, and ended up calling him "Null Achtzehn" (0-18).
  • It's been said that the real purpose of college is to get you to memorize your Social Security number (and your Student Number, for that matter).
  • According to his IMDb record, Shavar Ross has a son named Seven.
  • During the Stanford Prison Experiment, the "prisoners" were assigned numbers and the guards encouraged to call them by those numbers to better simulate a prison setting. It worked too well.
  • Most militaries assign soldiers an individual ID number for administrative purposes. This is generally one of the few things soldiers are explicitly permitted to tell their enemies in case of capture.
    • It started in the 19th century, and can notably be seen in Zulu where a couple of soldiers are referred to by their name plus service number, because the name was too common. Something similar happened during the Civil War, particularly in the U.S. Colored Troops (many of whom had just gotten a last name, which cut down on the variety).
    • Certain training schools will replace a soldier's name with a roster number. The trainee will be addressed and identify themselves as this number.
    • Starting in the mid-1970s, the US military started using soldiers' Social Security Numbers for record keeping purposes, including putting them on their ID cards and dog tags. The wisdom of this was questionable, as that's normally something you want to keep under tight control due to identity theft. Despite criticism, things didn't start to change until 2008, when the US Department of Defense ordered all branches of the military to remove SSNs from all military IDs. The DOD set the deadline as December 31, 2009 - and completely missed it. It wasn't until June 2011 that SSNs were removed from the front of military ID cards, and even then there was still a barcode with the holder's SSN encoded; those codes were only removed in 2012. The Army didn't start to remove SSNs from dog tags until 2016.
  • Just being British, any branch of government will ask for you National Insurance number (NI№) whether you are seeking benefits or asking why there is a bloody great hole in your street. Although 'number' isn't technically correct - it's six digits and three letters.
    • In Sweden it's even worse. Not only will every branch of government register you by "personal number", but many businesses started using peoples' personal numbers for customer numbers!
  • In Finland, one's person ID number, "hetu" from Finnish henkilötunnus, is actually one's unique identifier for any official issues. On the other hand, one's hetu is considered a VERY intimate piece of information, and it is prohibited to register it in any private interactions or keep a hetu register for business or other purposes. It is considered as one's True Name as they are unique.
  • Up-and-coming hoops star Seventh Woods.
  • Former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson had his surname legally changed to "Ochocinco" (a mangled Spanish rendition of his jersey number, 85) in 2008. The number 85 in Spanish is "ochenta y cinco". "Ochocinco" means "eightfive". In 2011, he was rumored to be changing his name again, this time to "Hachigo" ("eightfive" again, this time in Japanese); however, he ultimately reverted to his birth name in 2012 (though when he joined the CFL's Montreal Alouettes in 2014, people joked that he would change his surname again to "Huitcinq" — "eightfive", this time in French).
  • The German war crimes prisoners at Spandau (convicted at the post-World War II Nuremberg trials) were addressed by guards solely by number. As there were seven prisoners they were known by the numbers 1 through 7.
  • In Nigeria, when twins are born they are named "Taiwo" and "Kehinde". Literally "1st born of twins" and "2nd born of twins".
    • Due to difficulty in figuring out which of a set of identical twins is which, this happens in most places. Eventually most identical twins just seem to adapt and respond whenever someone says something in their general direction.
  • The inmates of the Magdalene laundries were, according to some accounts, addressed by number rather than name.
  • In Russia, a digit-named boy was ignored by the authorities. While "Dolphin" and "Viagra" (Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?) are not typical names, they have been recognised by the Moscow registry office. However, authorities have refused to give a birth certificate to a boy whose name is simply a series of digits. In English, his name translates into BOHdVF260602 (Biological Object Human Descendant of the Voronins and Frolovs 260602). There was a long and loud legal debate... then, at the age of 14, the boy changed his name to Igor'.
  • The flight demonstration teams of the U.S. Air Force and Navy (the Thunderbirds and the Blue Angels, respectively) use numbers to identify the positions on the team, and the person currently filling that slot is referred to almost exclusively by that number (e.g. the Commanding Officer is #1, and Lead Solo is #5). Presumably this is to promote the brand of the team, rather than making stars of the individual pilots.
  • In the Mexican college Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo (Umich for short), and possibly many others, when you are accepted you're given a "matrícula" (like an ID number) of seven numbers and a letter, while the teachers, all the documents and everything else still refers to you by your name, the computer archive only knows you by your matrícula (you can access your file only by your matrícula, not by your name), a running joke among alumni (which arguably gets reinvented every new school year) is to refer to their matrícula as their "prisoner number".
  • Usually averted with all but the simplest of real life robots. Kismet, Ghengis, and Cog are rather famous examples. Exceptions include military robots, which usually aren't designed with human interaction in mind (unless said interaction came in the form of "bullet, meet brain-pan.")
    • Military squads do tend to nickname robots, though. One squad of marines named a bomb-disposal bot "Scooby-Doo".
    • Though one could assume that if, in the future, robots start being produced at a mass scale, the creators would have to give them some sort of numeral identification, rather than unique names. Although their particular make could have some sort of identifying name, like aircraft do.
  • Sports teams in general assign numbers to each of the players on the back of their uniforms (their actual names may or may not be printed on the back as well). There are several reasons for this: it emphasizes that the members are part of a team, it prevents possible confusion over names (i.e., if two players have last names that are similar or even the same), it's much easier to see at a distance one or two large digits rather than a string of letters, and for some sports (such as American Football) it dictates what rules apply to certain players (i.e., offensive linemen, who are only allowed to wear 50-79 in the National Football League, are not allowed to catch a pass unless they report otherwise to the referee). This also make it easy on the referees and scorekeepers in certain sports to record which player has committed fouls or penalties. For example, in basketball, refs will signal to the scoring table the number of a player who committed a foul, and if it was a common foul or technical/flagrant foul, in order to keep track of how many fouls a player has committed in that game, due to most leagues having rules that eject a player if he commits too many. Ice hockey refs will likewise signal to the scorekeepers the number of whoever committed a penalty, what penalty they committed, and however many penalty minutes they're receiving for it (i.e. "TWO-FOUR, two minutes, hooking!")
    • Contrary to the popular belief of This Very Wiki, NASCAR does not assign its drivers one car number for their entire career – in fact, the numbers are assigned to the team owners, who then assign them to the drivers. Teams actually pay NASCAR a small fee to gain the rights to a specific number. For example, when Matt Kenseth drove for Roush Fenway Racing, he piloted the #17, and when he moved to Joe Gibbs, he drove the #20 Toyota instead. The #17 stayed with Roush Fenway, and was assigned to his replacement, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
      • More infamously, Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (more specifically, Teresa Earnhardt) refused to release the rights to the #8 when her stepson Dale Earnhardt Jr. jumped ship to Hendrick Motorsports. This forced Hendrick into a compromise, and they convinced Yates Racing to relinquish the #88 for Junior's use in 2008 and beyond. Post-merger, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, renamed Chip Ganassi Racing after the 2013 season, originally retained the rights to own the #8 before quietly giving the rights to use the #8 to Richard Childress Racing in 2018, allowing Daniel Hemric to make his Cup debut in the one-off #8 RCR Camaro.
      • This doesn't stop fans from associating driver and car number if a driver was particularly famous. Dale Earnhardt Sr. (#3), Richard Petty (#43), Jeff Gordon (#24) and Jimmie Johnson (#48) are the best examples. Johnson in particular drove the #48 for his entire Cup career.
    • In contrast with NASCAR's practice, Formula One now issues drivers numbers for their entire careers, following the number system used in MotoGP, a practice which began in the 2014 season. The #1 is reserved for the reigning Drivers' Champion; drivers can choose any number from #2 to #99 (except #17, which is retired in honor of Jules Bianchi), as long as it isn't taken by another driver. The champion's "regular" number is placed in reserve while he uses #1 in order to prevent other drivers from taking it. In addition, if a driver doesn't race in Formula One three years after their last race, their number can be re-issued to another driver who wants that number.
      • In a meta-sense, the number 6 has been adopted by former World Champion Nico Rosberg and currently Nicholas Latifi.
    • As mentioned above, in MotoGP, riders are issued with numbers that they are going to keep for their entire career. Changes usually happened under several circumstances; such as the number that they used is already taken by someone else when they joined a new class, sponsorship obligations (such as Pons Racing's #40 bike), the number was retired by the organizersnote , or optionally, if the rider becomes the world champion and stayed in the class they won it.
      • After rider numbers became standardizednote  and before the advent of the MotoGP class to replace the 500cc class, the rules stated that if you finished in the top 5 the previous season, you have to use rider numbers indicating that you finished in whatever position you did finish the previous year (i.e. champion gets #1, runner up gets #2, and so on). While it is OK to not follow this rulenote , all but one championnote  changed his number to #1 after he won the title. This all changed when Valentino Rossi gets promoted to the-then 500cc in 2000. After Rossi finished second in the 2000 season, he decided to kept his iconic #46 the following season. Then Rossi won the title in 2001 and kept the #46 in the following season despite his champion status. As a result, virtually everyone decided to follow his lead and kept the same number they use for their entire career. This results in the near-abolition of the rule, now with only the champions given the option to change their number to #1note  in the following season.
      • This also makes Max Biaggi and Alex Barros The Artifact of the rules above. In the aforementioned 2000 season, Biaggi finished third while Barros finished fourth, with Biaggi changing to #3 and Barros changing to #4 in the following season. Both riders would keep these numbers for the rest of their careernote , thus making them The Artifact of the now-discontinued rule.
    • In rugby, a player's number is determined by which position he's starting a match at (potential substitute players wear higher numbered jerseys that don't correspond to any particular position). The starting hooker, for example, will always be wearing number 2. This helps the ref yell at a particular player by yelling his jersey number, and usually the color, since there's a corresponding number on the other team. 14 of the 15 Union positions downplay this, as they all have nicknames (often different based on geography), like #2 being called a hooker due to his role in scrums (use his foot to hook the ball back to his side), or #15 being called Full Back because he's the fully most "back" player on defense. The position in the #8 jersey is the straightest example, as it's only ever called "Number 8", "Eight man", or something similar.
    • In hockey, the number 99 will forever be associated with Wayne Gretzky, touted as the greatest player in the history of the game. His number is retired league wide, after being retired by the Edmonton Oilers and the Los Angeles Kings. note  No team will use 99 ever again. When Nicklas Backstrom tried to use 99 during the year he played on a KHL team (during the lockout), he got a ton of backlash for it. He changed it to 69 instead.
      • By virtue of his last name rhyming with his number, and his enormous talent, Bobby Orr was referred to by number and name together more than any other player. Number Four, Bobby Orr.
  • Japan, especially during the feudal era, would name their children 1st son, 2nd son, 3rd son, etc. Today Jiro is still a popular Japanese name and means simply "Second Son". The name that translates to "First Son", though popular as well, has perhaps reached a worldwide One-Mario Limit for recognition purposes thanks to the famous baseball player with that name: Ichiro.
    • This is the usual naming custom in Bali for first names (for both boys and girls).
    • Same in medieval China as well.
  • Certain classes of warships (especially less significant ones) in many navies are not given names, but only numbers (e.g. Patrol Boat #25, U-29, K-39 etc.)
    • This can also apply to individual ships and boats. During some periods, the Soviet navy did not name its submarines, only referring to them by their hull numbers, as it was considered unsocialist to name a ship. Some were later given official names, while others remained only numbers. For example, out of the 6 operational Typhoon-class submarines, TK-13 and TK-202 never had names. And almost all incarnations of the German Navy have designated their submarines ("U-boats") with the letter U followed by a number, without any accompanying name.
    • Likewise, in the early 1920s the Imperial Japanese Navy assigned only numbers to its destroyers (normally a type of ship significant enough to merit a name) under the expectation that their planned massive fleet expansion would result in so many destroyers that naming them all would be impractical. This proved unpopular with crews and caused confusion in radio communications, and as a result all were given names.
    • Navies also assign named ships a hull number, often with letters that identify the type of ship. This is particularly useful because navies like to reuse the names of famous ships, so mentions of that ship are often followed by number. For instance, USS Enterprise would be followed by CV-6, CVN-65, or NCC-1701.
  • Ex-Yugoslav republics (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro and North Macedonia) all inherited the Yugoslavian JMBG (Jedinstveni matični broj građanina/Unique Master Citizen Number) system. It has thirteen numbers and as an adult you are pretty much expected to know it by heart, what makes it easier is that the numbers incorporate your birth-date and region of birth- you only need to memorize the last couple of numbers 0-499 for boys, 500-999 for girls and a checksum number. For example: 1707017170007 will be the number of the first born boy in Sarajevo on July 17, 2017.
    • Recently your National ID card number is also often asked for at banks, government offices and so on. Said national ID card is mandatory for anyone over the age of 18 and it is, in theory at least, a minor misdemeanor not to have it with you at all times in public.
    • Averted by Croatia, which has since switched their system to use eleven totally randomly assigned digits. That said, since so many Croatians were born or registered in the Yugoslav era, it will be some time before their JMBGs fade out of existence.
  • Iceland has its own national ID number called the kennitala (plural: kennitölur), which is issued not only to people but also to companies and institutions. As in Finland, each number is unique to each entity, whether a person or an organization. Iceland makes even more public use of kennitölur than the ex-Yugoslav countries—businesses and schools use the national numbers instead of internal ID numbers, and their use is mandated for all banking transactions. Because the kennitala is public, it is not used for authentication purposes. The number is 10 digits, usually written in the form NNNNNN-NNNN, and for individuals, seven of the 10 numbers are based on the birth date—the first six are the actual date (DDMMYY), and the last digit is the century of birth (9 if born before 2000, 0 if born in 2000 or later), One side effect of this registry is that the country no longer conducts a census—population data can be obtained at any time by a database query.
  • This happened to Native children in Canadian Residential Schools, as a further means of dehumanizing them. This applied to their every possession, such as clothing marked with their number, giving more reason to punish them should those possessions (for whatever reason) go missing.
  • The (not kidding here) Toledo War of 1835-36 was a mostly bloodless conflict over Toledo, Ohio, between Ohio and Michigan. Of note in the conflict was Major Benjamin F. Stickney, an Ohio partisan, who had two sons who were actually named "One" and "Two". The assumption by their parents was they could choose their own names as they got older[1], but One and Two never did, seeming happy with their names. Two Stickney goes down in history for being responsible for the only bloodshed of the "war", when he stabbed a Michigan Sheriff's Deputy (whose injuries were non-life-threatening).
  • In the 1970s, Michael Dengler wanted to change his name to "1069", but this was denied on the grounds that some government agencies would not be able to cope with someone with a number for a name. But "One Zero Six Nine" was acceptable.
  • The German Princely House of Reuss traditionally names all its male members Heinrich followed by a number. The numbers are assigned in the order of birth and at the turn of each century they start over at Heinrich I. For instance, the current head of the house is Heinrich XIV, Prince Reuss of Köstritz (1955-) whose two sons are named Heinrich XXIX (1997-) and Heinrich V (2005-).
  • On anonymous Imageboards like 4chan and 8chan, users typically address each other by the numbers automatically assigned to the posts they make, such as >>189342. On some boards each user is also assigned an eight-symbol alphanumeric indicator (for example, 45a7ef1d), which stays unique within a single thread and can be used to identify their posts. There is an option to use names and password-protected tripcodes, but this is generally frowned upon unless absolutely necessary. Don't get used to it, namefag.
  • A man named Geoff David Busker had his name legally changed to Geoff David Fortytwo.
  • Referring to someone by a number between 1 and 10 has become a slang way of rating their attractiveness (with a 1 being the least attractive and a 10 being the most attractive). This is common in the pickup artist community, and has given rise to this pickup line (seen on The Suite Life on Deck):
    Are you from Tennessee? Because you're the only "Ten" I see!
  • In a good database design, every record (a row in a table) needs a way to uniquely identify it from all other rows, and (because there is likely more than one person with the same first and last name or names change over time) this usually ends up being a system generated ID number, which is called a primary key. Other tables in the database refer to a row in another table by its primary key number. Therefore, within a database system, you really are number 6.
  • "Six" is an uncommon, but extant, family name in the US, concentrated mainly in the Midwest.
  • The 2019 U.S. Women's Open, one of the US LPGA Tour's five major championships, was won by a Korean golfer known professionally (in the West) as Jeongeun Lee6. The reason for the "6": She's the sixth woman named Lee Jeong-eun (Korean romanization) to have played on the Korean LPGA tour. Incidentally, Jeongeun Lee5 also played in that tournament, finishing well back in the pack. In an interesting symmetry, Lee6 had won six events on the Korean tour before her US breakthrough.
  • Amateur radio operators are given a globally unique call sign by the FCC (or their country's equivalent) upon passing their license exam. These serve the same purpose as call signs for commercial radio and TV stations. In the US, hams are required to announce their call sign every ten minutes and right before signing off. You're normally given whatever available call is next in line, but you can also request a vanity call sign, as well as inherit a call from a relative who has died. Hams normally append their call to their name when introducing themselves in person to other radio amateurs: "My name is John Smith, Q4ABC."
  • K2, the second-highest mountain in the world. The "K" stands for Karakoram, the mountain range where it is located. It was originally a placeholder name used by the Great Trigonometrical Survey of British India (intending to map out the landscape of the subcontinent) and meant to be replaced by a local name if possible. However, because the mountain is so remote, it turned out that locals didn't have a name for it, either. The name has since stuck (if you're wondering where K1 is, the mountain has a local name, Masherbrum).
  • There is a species of butterfly called the Anna's eighty-eight because the pattern on its wings is strikingly similar to "88", although sometimes it looks more like a "98" or "89". It's so perfect it looks painted on.
  • There's a Chinese actress called Seven Tan. Though in her case it's an assumed name: her birth name is Tan Jing Jing and her Chinese stage name is Tan Song Yun, so Seven Tan is her English stage name.
  • Jair Bolsonaro calls his sons 01 (Flávio), 02 (Carlos), 03 (Eduardo) and 04 (Jair Renan), from eldest to youngest, in military tradition of assigning numbers to recruits. The press and the opposition have taken up these nicknames for them, if only to ridicule the habit.
  • Public schools in New York City are assigned a unique number that is used to identify the school. Most, but not all elementary schools also have a name associated with them.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Numeronym, Name As A Number, Number For A Name



Seeking to find a way to save her parents, Chihiro asks the witch Yubaba for a job in her bathhouse. After agreeing to give Chihiro work, Yubaba magically removes the girls' name until it's reduced to just "Sen" (1000 in Japanese).

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Example of:

Main / MuggleInMageCustody

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