[ soo-don-uh-muhs ]
/ suˈdɒn ə məs /
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bearing a false or fictitious name.
writing or written under a fictitious name.
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Origin of pseudonymous

1700–10; <Greek pseudṓnymos;see pseudonym, -ous

OTHER WORDS FROM pseudonymous

pseu·don·y·mous·ly, adverbpseu·don·y·mous·ness, noun


anonymous, pseudonymous
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does pseudonymous mean?

Pseudonymous means having, using, or written under a pseudonym—a false or fictitious name, especially one used by an author.

The word is often used to describe a person who uses a pseudonym, as in the pseudonymous artist, or something attributed to a false name, as in her pseudonymous novels. 

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 publish pseudonymously instead of under 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 pseudonymous titles John Doe, Jane Doe, Richard Roe, and Jane Roe are used in cases when a person’s name is being kept anonymous. Such names can also be called anonyms.

Example: It’s sometimes hard to tell whether pseudonymous posts are published by bots or real people.

Where does pseudonymous come from?

The first records of the word pseudonymous come from the early 1700s. The noun pseudonym is actually recorded later, in the 1800s. Both words come 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).

Many famous writers published pseudonymously. 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 pseudonymous?

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


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

How is pseudonymous used in real life?

Pseudonymous is especially used to describe the works of writers who use pseudonyms.



Try using pseudonymous!

Is pseudonymous used correctly in the following sentence? 

I prefer her pseudonymous works to those written under her real name.

How to use pseudonymous in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for pseudonymous

/ (sjuːˈdɒnɪməs) /

having or using a false or assumed name
writing or having been written under a pseudonym

Derived forms of pseudonymous

pseudonymously, adverb
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