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

Definition of pseudonym

: a fictitious name especially : pen name

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for pseudonym


alias, nom de guerre

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did You Know?

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

Mary Anne Evans, writing under the pseudonym George Eliot, is perhaps unique in having dedicated such a sequence to her brother, Isaac Evans. The New York Review of Books, "Tim Parks," 9 May 2019 The Satanic Temple uses religious liberty laws to critique the religious right The Satanic Temple has been blending trolling and activism since it was founded in 2012 by two friends, Malcolm Jerry and Lucien Greaves (both pseudonyms). Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "The Satanic Temple is divided over its leader’s decision to hire Alex Jones’s lawyer," 9 Aug. 2018 Most recently, Hulu and Awesomeness' binge-worthy YA series Light as a Feather started as the Wattpad story Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board by Alexandra Fletcher under the pseudonym Zoe Aarsen, and is returning for a second season this summer. Elena Nicolaou,, "How To Write A Book On Your Phone & Get 1 Billion Readers & A Movie Deal," 15 June 2019 Caesar, a pseudonym for the Syrian defector, testified before Congress in July 2014. Courtney Mcbride, WSJ, "Time Runs Short for Congress to Pass Syrian Legislation," 4 Dec. 2018 Jandaris is the northern Syrian town near where Mr. Sayyed, an activist who uses a pseudonym for his own protection, lives in a makeshift refugee camp with thousands of others displaced by Syria’s seven-year civil war. Hwaida Saad, New York Times, "Memories Lost and Futures on Hold: A Look Inside a Camp for Syria’s Displaced," 11 July 2018 She’s since published eight romance novels, under the pseudonym Selena Montgomery. Rebecca Nelson, Cosmopolitan, "The U.S. Has Never Had a Black Woman as Governor. Stacey Abrams Plans to Change That.," 27 Nov. 2017 However, it was eventually revealed that the enigmatic twins were actually British artists James Golding and Mike Snelle under a unique pseudonym. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Gave Idris Elba an Incredible Wedding Gift," 28 Apr. 2019 The Wall Street Journal has published pieces written anonymously and under pseudonyms on its op-ed pages in the past. Lukas I. Alpert, WSJ, "Publishing Anonymous Column Is Rare, Editors Say," 6 Sep. 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pseudonym

Listen to Our Podcast about pseudonym

Statistics for pseudonym

Last Updated

2 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pseudonym

The first known use of pseudonym was in 1817

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for pseudonym



English Language Learners Definition of pseudonym

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on pseudonym

What made you want to look up pseudonym? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


providing supplementary assistance

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!