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

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 Rather poignant and intense is also the work of Tomaso Binga, a pseudonym chosen in 1971 by the Roman artist Bianca Pucciarelli to take a strong stance against the art world, where male codes have to be obliged for females to succeed. Tiziana Cardini, Vogue, "In Milan, A New Exhibition Celebrates Italian Feminist Artists of the 1970s," 5 Apr. 2019 Among the people suing in the ACLU’s lawsuit is a woman identified only by a pseudonym, Grace. Nomaan Merchant, The Seattle Times, "ACLU lawsuit accuses US of wrongfully denying asylum," 7 Aug. 2018 Instead, the syndicate hired a young artist named Olivia Jaimes (a pseudonym) and gave her the freedom not just to update Nancy for 2018 but to figure out what Bushmiller’s playful style might look like if pulled forward into the present. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Nancy, a 1930s comic strip, was the funniest thing I read in 2018," 26 Dec. 2018 Edythe Wayne is widely acknowledged to have been a pseudonym the three used, and Mr. Dozier has cast doubt on Mr. Dunbar’s involvement with the songs. Daniel E. Slotnik, New York Times, "Ronald Dunbar, 78, Producer and Grammy-Winning Songwriter, Dies," 17 Apr. 2018 Alison’s been releasing music under this pseudonym since 2013 and has built a reputation for a blasting blend of heavy trap and future bass. Dani Deahl, The Verge, "What’s In Your Bag, Alison Wonderland?," 24 Aug. 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

21 May 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).


highly pertinent or appropriate

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
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!