[ sood-n-im ]
/ ˈsud n ɪm /
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See synonyms for: pseudonym / pseudonyms on Thesaurus.com

a fictitious name used by an author to conceal his or her identity; pen name.
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Origin of pseudonym

First recorded in 1840–50; from Greek pseudṓnymon “false name”; see pseud-, -onym

historical usage of pseudonym

The English noun pseudonym comes via the French adjective and noun pseudonym, in French originally meaning “(pertaining to) one who writes or publishes under an alias,” and then “(pertaining to) a name chosen by someone to conceal his or her identity.”
The Greek origin of pseudonym (and even of its parts) is pretty obvious: Greek pseudṓnymos “under a false name, falsely called” is a compound whose first element pseudo- “false, lying” is a combining form of pseûdos “a lie.” The second element -ṓnymos is a combining form deriving from the noun ónoma (Doric and Aeolic ónyma ) “name.”
The English noun appeared in the early 1800s, but the adjective pseudonymous was recorded more than a century earlier, in Edward Phillips’s 1706 dictionary New World of Words.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What is a pseudonym?

A pseudonym is a false or fictitious name, especially one used by an author.

When an author uses a pseudonym, it can also be called a pen name or a nom de plume.

There are many reasons an author may choose to use a pseudonym 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 pseudonym to get their work published due to bias against women writers. A famous example is Mary Ann Evans, who used the pseudonym George Eliot.

The word pseudonym can refer to a fake or false name used by anyone, not just writers. It’s typically used so a person can remain anonymous. In legal proceedings, the pseudonyms John Doe, Jane Doe, Richard Roe, and Jane Roe are used in​ when a person’s name is being kept anonymous. Such names can also be called anonyms.

Example: A lot of people use pseudonyms when posting controversial opinions online.

Where does pseudonym come from?

The first records of the word pseudonym come from the 1800s. It comes from the Greek pseudṓnymon, meaning “false name.” The prefix pseudo- means “false,” and -onym means “name” (it can also mean “word,” and is used in words like synonym and acronym). The adjective pseudonymous is recorded earlier, in the early 1700s.

The pseudonyms of actors and entertainers are often called stage names (Cary Grant’s real name was Archibald Leach; Lady Gaga’s real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta). For writers, they’re often called pen names or noms de plume. 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 pseudonyms for many reasons. Sometimes, a famous author uses a pseudonym 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 pseudonym 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 pseudonym 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 other forms related to pseudonym?

What are some synonyms for pseudonym?

What are some words that share a root or word element with pseudonym

What are some words that often get used in discussing pseudonym?

How is pseudonym used in real life?

Pseudonyms can be used for all kinds of reasons, but they’re most often associated with writers.



Try using pseudonym!

Which of the following terms is NOT a synonym of pseudonym

A. alias
B. anonym
C. antonym
D. pen name

How to use pseudonym in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for pseudonym

/ (ˈsjuːdəˌnɪm) /

a fictitious name adopted, esp by an author

Derived forms of pseudonym

pseudonymity, noun

Word Origin for pseudonym

C19: via French from Greek pseudōnumon
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012