Is there a term for phrases like Fifth Beatle when there's four main Beatles, fourth estate when there were originally only three estates, or Mongolia's Third neighbor policy when it only has two neighbours? Basically, the (n + 1)th item when there's only n items.

  • Eighth wonder of the world. – Kris May 3 '15 at 4:42
  • sixth sense, third eye – Neil W May 3 '15 at 7:16
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    Which is why they're only comments and not answers I imagine. – Neil W May 3 '15 at 9:53
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    Not to be a fifth wheel in this conversation, but a number of podunk (from a Manhattanite's perspective) satellite burgs often lay claim to being the sixth borough of New York City. And some of my more -- let's call them zealously patriotic -- acquaintances at times refer to Canada as the fifty-first state. – Dan Bron May 3 '15 at 11:56
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    It seems like there should be a term, similar to penultimate, meaning "one more than the last". – Hot Licks May 3 '15 at 12:13


"exceeding a regular or proper number."

(Collins Dictionary)

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You might simply refer to the phrase, if you must refer to it, as: "honorary title". Ex:

"D'Artagnan is often spoken of with the honorary title of 'Fourth Musketeer'."

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