For example, I could refer to 'the big five', instead of listing the five animals considered dangerous to hunt. I've replaced the list of animals with the noun phrase 'the big five'.

I know this could be a form of substitution but it's a clearly recognisable phrase with specific meaning.

  • 'Genus' in its less specialised sense is correct, but there would be confusion if used for the big five. Trivially, a set is a collection of different entities with some overarching connection (here, dangerous African ...). Commented Sep 8, 2021 at 15:00

2 Answers 2


It is called a "designation".

(SOED) designation 7 A descriptive name, an appellation;

  • From now on the five dangerous animals will be referred to [by the designation/as] "the big five".

label (n.)

A classifying phrase or name applied to a person or thing, especially one that is inaccurate or restrictive. Lexico

A word or phrase that describes or identifies something or someone m-w

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