What do you call a group of ninjas?
October 10, 2006 2:43 PM   Subscribe

What do you call a group of ninjas?

You know, like gaggle of geese, murder of crows, school of fish, all that. Does a group of ninjas have some sort of descriptor? We're talking many people in halloween costumes, how to address them together. The { blank }
posted by qbxk to Writing & Language (52 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
Ninja. No distinction between the singular and plural in Japanese.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:46 PM on October 10, 2006


One ninja, many ninjim.

And the collective is a flipout of ninjim.

Because ninjim are mammals who flip out and kill people.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:50 PM on October 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


qbxk is referring to a collective noun or collective plural, not just plural. Google turns up nothing. I suggest a sneak of ninja. Or maybe a death.
posted by BorgLove at 2:52 PM on October 10, 2006


A clan of ninjas?

A ninja clan?

The <ninja clan's name> clan?
posted by porpoise at 2:56 PM on October 10, 2006


A hedge of ninjas.

"We are a hedge. Please move along."
posted by MarkAnd at 2:56 PM on October 10, 2006 [6 favorites]


When I was studying Ninjutsu in the 80's, I studied a style called Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu. Togakure was the family name, and I think that Ryu means family or clan. Ryu or Clan is probably the best designation for a very large group, but if the Samurai had a word for an army or platoon or unit, then one of those might serve as well. You'd need somebody way more versed in Japanese than I am to say for sure.
posted by willnot at 3:01 PM on October 10, 2006


A stealth of ninja.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 3:01 PM on October 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


A cloudshadow of ninja? Dang, when you consider my Saturday night revolves around Naruto I really should know this.
posted by Iron Rat at 3:15 PM on October 10, 2006


Crap, beaten to the punch (it's funny cause ninja's both beat and punch...)

Clan. Definitely a clan.Though this would be an excellent opportunity to come up with a cool new collective noun for groups of ninja.

A wraith of ninjas
A hood of ninjas
A murder of ninjas?
Ninji?
posted by quin at 3:16 PM on October 10, 2006


A Diminishing Effectuality of ninjas?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:17 PM on October 10, 2006 [2 favorites]


Well, a Clan of Ninja's would indicate a formal relationship, but what if there are a bunch of Ninjas that aren't in the same clan.... are they still a clan of Ninjas.


Definitely a question for "Ask a Ninja"
posted by hatsix at 3:21 PM on October 10, 2006


What do you call a group of ninjas?

An oxymoron. Ninjas kill alone.
posted by gmarceau at 3:23 PM on October 10, 2006 [6 favorites]


My google reveals that the plural of Ninja is Ninja
posted by juliarothbort at 3:24 PM on October 10, 2006


gmarceau, you obviously never watched The Last Samurai. In it we see that not only do Ninjas attack in packs, they also do so without the least bit of stealth or guile, instead relying on sheer numbers.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 3:27 PM on October 10, 2006


What do you call a group of ninjas?

Sir, sir, sir, and sir.
posted by gleuschk at 3:30 PM on October 10, 2006 [6 favorites]


Ask a Ninja
posted by hatsix at 3:31 PM on October 10, 2006


A flock of ninjas! Just think of the potential for hair-intimidation!
posted by Meemer at 3:33 PM on October 10, 2006


A silence of ninjas?
An inevitability of ninjas?
A doom of ninjas?
A black of ninjas?
A balaclava of ninjas?
A probability of ninjas?

A rabble of ninjas?
posted by -harlequin- at 3:43 PM on October 10, 2006


I think if you look at the original Latin derivation, it would be ninjae
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:46 PM on October 10, 2006


Anything they want to be called.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:00 PM on October 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


frogspawn
posted by NinjaTadpole at 4:07 PM on October 10, 2006


What do you call a group of ninjas?
Oh, I know this one, you call them a...hold on, there's someone at the do
posted by scrump at 4:11 PM on October 10, 2006 [4 favorites]


Just for grins, I skimmed the Japanese wikipedia article on ninja. Didn't see any collective word for ninja jumping off the page at me. I hereby give you carte-blanche (perhaps that should be carte-noir) to make up your own collective noun. But a good Japanese word for "swarm" is 雲集 (unshu)—the characters literally mean "gathering of clouds" which is poetic and apt.

FWIW, "ryu" (or more properly as a standalone word, "ryuha") doesn't mean clan, it means school or style, and you have "ryu" in just about every traditional Japanese art (like, say, flower arranging); "Togakure" apparently refers not to a person but to a mountain in Nagano prefecture.
posted by adamrice at 4:18 PM on October 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


You don't call them anything, because you don't even know they're there.
posted by mckenney at 4:24 PM on October 10, 2006 [4 favorites]


A shitload of ninjas.
posted by horsewithnoname at 4:24 PM on October 10, 2006 [2 favorites]


A BADASS OF NINJAS
posted by car_bomb at 4:32 PM on October 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


A whisper of ninja
posted by einekleine at 4:37 PM on October 10, 2006


a murder of ninjas
posted by Tixylix at 5:06 PM on October 10, 2006


When I say ninja in Japanese, it's pretty much only with a negative connotation, sarcastic or not. That is, if somebody had stolen something, eavesdropped or inexplicably been aware of something, hidden/kept a secret, etc. I would call them a ninja.

Having said that, I vote:

a lurk of ninja.
posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 5:08 PM on October 10, 2006


ninja-tachi, or ninja-sama. As many weird counters (different words for counting minutes, and flat objects, and long objects, and round objects, and machinery, and small animals, and years, and minutes, and people...) as Japanese has, you would think there would be a counter for ninjas.

But I admit I cracked up over "sir, sir, sir, and sir."
posted by ilsa at 6:21 PM on October 10, 2006


Whatever the opposite of the corresponding word for pirates is.
posted by casarkos at 6:37 PM on October 10, 2006


Whatever the opposite of the corresponding word for pirates is.

Pirates in a group would be a fleet.

A ship of ninjas?

Perhaps an oh, shit! of ninjas.
posted by drfu at 6:53 PM on October 10, 2006


whatever they ask to be called...

... assuming they bother to tell you before they attack.
posted by perelman at 7:32 PM on October 10, 2006


Perhaps the answer can be found in An Exaltation of Larks by James Lipton. Yeah, that James Lipton.
posted by geekyguy at 7:42 PM on October 10, 2006


"Band" or "clan" works, I've heard both.
posted by kindall at 7:49 PM on October 10, 2006


I was going to answer "clan", because that's the right answer, but then I read this:
A shitload of ninjas.
As someone who was deathly afraid of ninjas when I was a kiddie, this is surely the best answer.
posted by muddgirl at 8:03 PM on October 10, 2006


A Null of Ninja?

Although, I'm still amused by "A hedge of Ninja". Thanks, MarkAnd.
posted by Meep! Eek! at 8:03 PM on October 10, 2006


According to this, the proper term is "team."

I rest my case.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:38 PM on October 10, 2006


a turtle van of ninjas
posted by Alt F4 at 8:46 PM on October 10, 2006


all very good, please continue the fun! and thanks you a-much to geekyguy for pointing us to the veritable dictionary of collective nouns. (with thanks to BorgLove for that answer to the implied question of what this modifier is called)

and in mr. lipton's spirit i will suggest:
an uh-oh of ninja

horsewithnoname++ for putting beer in my blast of sinuses
posted by qbxk at 10:37 PM on October 10, 2006


Wikiepdia has a giant list of Japanese counter words. It appears that ko is used for counting military units and mei and nin are used for counting people, with mei being the more polite version.
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:01 AM on October 11, 2006


I would use 忍者団(ninjadan)
posted by Gordion Knott at 6:08 AM on October 11, 2006


I think nebulkawindphone meant to link here.
posted by Alt F4 at 6:39 AM on October 11, 2006


For the record, you can't use a counter-word as a collective noun. We have counter-words in English too—eg, head of cattle. A head is not a herd.
posted by adamrice at 7:01 AM on October 11, 2006


qbxk- Always glad to share my knowledge.
posted by horsewithnoname at 8:28 AM on October 11, 2006


You morons. Only mckenny even got close.

You don't call them anything because you're dead before you realize they're there.
posted by allkindsoftime at 10:13 AM on October 11, 2006


You call them Young Artist Award Nominees Michael Treanor, Max Elliott Slade and Chad Power.

I support neologism:

A swordcloud of
A fiststorm of
A bladeswarm of
etc.
posted by kosem at 11:36 AM on October 11, 2006


An Unherd of Ninjas

A Binge of Ninjas
A Magnificent Obession of Ninjas
A Ninjamorie
A Posse of Ninjas
A Multitooled of Ninjas
A Gumbo of Ninjas
A Collective Non of Ninjas
posted by Rumple at 11:38 AM on October 12, 2006


A team or a troop.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 10:18 PM on October 16, 2006


When they're together, I'd guess team, but I liked "a stealth of ninjas." Closest Western analogue I've seen is "a boat crew of SEALs."
posted by pax digita at 5:56 AM on April 5, 2007


Whatever they want you to call them.
posted by drezdn at 6:36 AM on April 5, 2007


I don't know what you'd call a group of ninjas, but a group of Sasquatches is a pod. Like whales.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:20 AM on May 10, 2007


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