View synonyms for pen name

pen name


  1. a pseudonym used by an author; nom de plume.

pen name


  1. an author's pseudonym Also callednom de plume

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Word History and Origins

Origin of pen name1

First recorded in 1840–50

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Example Sentences

When a job assisting a best-selling author who writes under the pen name Maud Dixon leads to an unexpected opportunity to assume power she hasn’t earned, Florence doesn’t hesitate.

From Time

Knox wanted to write under a pen name at first, which the paper allowed her to do.

Nick Willard is the pen name of a military officer serving in Afghanistan.

Nick Willard is the pen name of a military officer currently serving in Afghanistan.

“Joke of the day,” tweeted one well-known blogger, who writes under the pen name The Big Pharaoh.

You wrote some poetry under a pen name [Jacob Gershon], right?

Using his pen name, "Moina," he specialized in war lyrics which were soon memorized by Southerners in general.

Hundreds of puns had been made on his pen-name, but this was probably his first and only attempt, and it still remains the best.

Certainly Miss Graves was justified in objecting to the use of her new pen name on work already published under her own name.

Fernn Caballero lived in the street that bears her pen-name, and a tablet will be found upon the house which she occupied.

Lytton is probably better known as a poet—under the pen-name of “Owen Meredith”—than as a statesman.


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More About Pen Name

What is a pen name?

A pen name is a name, especially a completely fake one, under which an author publishes their work instead of using their real name.

The term nom de plume means the exact same thing. There are many reasons an author may choose to use a pen name 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 pen name to get their work published due to bias against women writers. A famous example is Mary Ann Evans, who used the pen name George Eliot.

A more general term for a pen name is pseudonym, which refers to any false name but is most commonly associated with writers.

Example: Many people know that Mark Twain was the pen name of Samuel Clemens, but they don’t realize he also published as Sieur Louis de Conte.

Where does pen name come from?

The first records of the term pen name come from the 1800s. It’s essentially a translation of nom de plume, which uses French words but was actually coined in English. The French word nom means “name” and plume refers to a quill—a feather used as a pen. Both pen name and nom de plume are still in use.

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. Some famous ones are George Orwell (real name Eric Arthur Blair), Lewis Carroll (real name Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), and Evelyn Waugh (real name Arthur St. John).

Authors use pen names for many reasons. Sometimes, a famous author uses a pen name 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 just to write more books, like Stephen King did with the pen name 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).

Mark Twain, the famous pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, is said to come from the phrase that riverboat captains would shout out when the boat was in two fathoms of water.

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What are some synonyms for pen name?

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How is pen name used in real life?

Pen name is almost exclusively applied to writers.



Try using pen name!

True or False?

Pen name means the same thing as nom de plume.