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 Unlike the others, William Bowery has no discography of note—so fans quickly began to suspect the name was a pseudonym for Alwyn. Emily Dixon, Marie Claire, "Taylor Swift Revealed Boyfriend Joe Alwyn Co-Wrote Two Songs on 'Folklore'," 26 Nov. 2020 Produced by Dumile himself under the pseudonym Metal Fingers, the album couldn't have been more out of step with hip-hop's mainstream. NBC News, "Masked rapper MF Doom dies at 49," 31 Dec. 2020 The very name Ferrante — the pseudonym of the Italian novelist — evokes the tangle of impulses that drive her heroines, her mothers and daughters torn between mutual dependence and contempt, between the desire to nourish each other and betray. New York Times, "Times Critics’ Top Books of 2020," 2 Dec. 2020 Mike Pedevilla, as well as plaintiffs Charles Jones and James Johnson who are both using a pseudonym in the lawsuit. David Tarrant, Dallas News, "6 more former students alleged sexual abuse by priests at Dallas Jesuit Prep," 18 Nov. 2020 Hartman’s focus on the mythological and historical Venus, the goddess of love and the derogatory pseudonym of Saartjie Baartman in colonial South Africa, offers an amazing predecessor to the reality of Black women navigating tech and media. Sydette Harry, Wired, "Listening to Black Women: The Innovation Tech Can't Figure Out," 11 Jan. 2021 Let’s just say Casa Bellicosa is a pseudonym for the ages. Globe Staff,, "The Fast Forward 2020 Winter Bookies reading list," 4 Jan. 2021 In September, Shehroze Chaudhry, who used the pseudonym Abu Huzayfah, was arrested in Canada and charged with concocting a terrorist hoax. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "From Tom Cotton op-ed fallout to Twitter censoring New York Post: 10 media headlines from 2020," 31 Dec. 2020 The coder, who asked to use a pseudonym, has become an enthusiastic convert to the touching fish philosophy. Jane Li, Quartz, "Why Chinese youngsters are embracing a philosophy of “slacking-off”," 28 Dec. 2020

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

14 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pseudonym.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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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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