pseu·​do·​nym | \ ˈsü-də-ˌnim How to pronounce pseudonym (audio) \

Definition of pseudonym

: a fictitious name especially : pen name

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Synonyms for pseudonym


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Pseudonym, has its origins in the Greek word pseudōnymos, which means "bearing a false name." Greek speakers formed their word by combining pseud-, meaning "false," and onyma, meaning "name." French speakers adopted the Greek word as pseudonyme, and English speakers later modified the French word into pseudonym. Many celebrated authors have used pseudonyms. Samuel Clemens wrote under the pseudonym "Mark Twain," Charles Lutwidge Dodgson assumed the pseudonym "Lewis Carroll," and Mary Ann Evans used "George Eliot" as her pseudonym.

Examples of pseudonym in a Sentence

Mark Twain is the pseudonym of the American writer Samuel L. Clemens. the most notorious serial killer of the 19th century remains known only by the pseudonym of Jack the Ripper
Recent Examples on the Web The video has a peculiar and convoluted path that spans a decade and a half, covers thousands of miles, and includes shadowy characters known only by pseudonyms. Tim Mcmillan, Popular Mechanics, "The Tale of the Tape," 17 Jan. 2020 The former foster mother, who is referred to by a pseudonym in the appellate court decision, told the Globe she felt deceived by DCF. Matt Stout,, "Couple suing DCF over alleged assault of their daughter by foster child with abusive history," 16 Jan. 2020 The suit identifies the fan only by the pseudonym John Doe and states that his true name isn’t known by the plaintiff. oregonlive, "Mom sues Trail Blazers for $453K, says drunken fan tumbled onto her 12-year-old daughter during game," 22 Oct. 2019 By making Jo a stand-in for Alcott, Gerwig reflects the compromises made by many female writers of the time, who were often forced to use male pseudonyms or remain anonymous in order to attract readers. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, "'Little Women' ending explained: How the new movie brilliantly honors Louisa May Alcott (spoilers)," 27 Dec. 2019 The pseudonym may be a mystery, but his success was not. Patrick Sauer, Smithsonian Magazine, "The History of O. Henry’s ‘The Gift of the Magi’," 24 Dec. 2019 The Chronicle’s detailed policy governing the use of such sources, including the use of pseudonyms, is available on J.k. Dineen,, "Oxford University would anchor major Marin County development with hundreds of new homes," 16 Dec. 2019 Over time, the name Bourbaki became a collective pseudonym for dozens of influential mathematicians spanning generations, including Weil, Dieudonne, Schwartz, Borel, Grothendieck and many others. David Gunderman, The Conversation, "Nicolas Bourbaki: The greatest mathematician who never was," 7 Dec. 2019 But, as Cole Stryker writes, the use of pseudonyms has a long history and isn't necessarily dishonest. Patrick Smith, NBC News, "Top Pentagon Ukraine official's impeachment evidence delayed by GOP protest: Read the Morning Rundown," 24 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pseudonym.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of pseudonym

1817, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pseudonym

French pseudonyme, from Greek pseudōnymos bearing a false name, from pseud- + onyma name — more at name

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Time Traveler for pseudonym

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The first known use of pseudonym was in 1817

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Last Updated

29 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pseudonym.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2020.

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English Language Learners Definition of pseudonym

: a name that someone (such as a writer) uses instead of his or her real name

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