nom de plume
noun, plural noms de plume [nomz duh ploom; French nawn duh plym] /ˌnɒmz də ˈplum; French nɔ̃ də ˈplüm/.
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Origin of nom de plume
Words nearby nom de plume
What does nom de plume mean?
A nom de plume is a name, especially a completely fake one, under which an author publishes their work instead of using their real name.
The term pen name means the exact same thing. There are many reasons an author may choose to use a nom de plume instead of their own name, such as to avoid controversy or to create a persona. Many women authors throughout history have used a male or gender-neutral nom de plume to get their work published due to bias against women writers. A famous example is Mary Ann Evans, who used the nom de plume George Eliot.
The term nom de plume technically only applies to writers, but it is sometimes applied to other artists or as a synonym for the more general term pseudonym (a fake name).
The proper plural for nom de plume is noms de plume, but it is often seen as nom de plumes.
Example: Many people know that Mark Twain was the nom de plume of Samuel Clemens, but they don’t realize he also published as Sieur Louis de Conte.
Where does nom de plume come from?
The first records of the term non de plume come from the 1800s. Although the phrase uses French words, it was actually coined in English. The French word nom means “name” and plume refers to a quill—a feather used as a pen. The term pen name is essentially a translation of nom de plume, and both expressions are still in use. (Nom is used in the same way in the older term nom de guerre, which refers to a pseudonym used by a soldier.)
Actors and entertainers have stage names (Cary Grant’s real name was Archibald Leach; Lady Gaga’s real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta), but writers have pen names—or noms de plume. Some famous ones are George Orwell (real name Eric Blair), Lewis Carroll (real name Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), and Evelyn Waugh (real name Arthur St. John).
Authors use noms de plume for many reasons. Sometimes, a famous author uses a nom de plume to publish a work in a genre that’s different from the one they’re known for, like when Agatha Christie published non-mystery novels as Mary Westmacott or J.K. Rowling wrote mystery novels under the name Robert Galbraith. Or just to write more books, like Stephen King did with the nom de plume Richard Bachman.
Sometimes, the fake name is intended to create a persona, such as Diedrich Knickerbocker (real name Washington Irving), Dr. Suess (real name Theodor Geisel), or Lemony Snicket (real name Daniel Handler).
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What are some other forms related to nom de plume?
- noms de plume (plural)
What are some synonyms for nom de plume?
What are some words that share a root or word element with nom de plume?
What are some words that often get used in discussing nom de plume?
How is nom de plume used in real life?
Nom de plume can be used as a synonym for pseudonym, but it’s usually applied to the fake names of authors.
#MuseumFromHome If you were a woman writing in the eighteenth or nineteenth century, you may have chosen to obscure your gender by using an androgynous pen name. Use our game from the exhibition Man Up! to find out what your nom de plume might have been. Tweet it at us! pic.twitter.com/oSE6WxFFUQ
— ChawtonHouse (@ChawtonHouse) April 30, 2020
For the last year I've been writing under a nom de plume. It's been an interesting experience pouring everything out and seeing its effect. Still not gonna write under my name for a while.
— Jamaine (@thejigg) October 11, 2018
In the '80s, a time when every bit of information wasn't necessarily disseminated via press release or Tweet, spotting a Prince nom de plume in other artist's liner notes was quite exciting.
— Pete Carney (@prc6th) December 3, 2019
Try using nom de plume!
True or False?
Nom de plume means the same thing as pen name.
Example sentences from the Web for nom de plume
In 1818 published a series of letters under the nom-de-plume of "Agricola," in the Halifax Recorder.
He wrote occasionally—always under a nom-de-plume; but he had great difficulty in satisfying his own editorial standards.The Life and Letters of Walter H. Page, Volume I|Burton J. Hendrick
As nothing else is known of him it has been held by some that the name was a nom-de-plume of W. himself.A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature|John W. Cousin
However, please try again: and please don't change your nom-de-plume: let us have Nell in the First Class next time!A Tangled Tale|Lewis Carroll
It had been sent in 1885 under the nom-de-plume "A. Chekhonte," and it had failed to pass.Plays by Chekhov, Second Series|Anton Chekhov