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WikiProject Anthroponymy (Rated C-class, High-importance)
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I vote nickname, of which there are over 100 in wikipedia, but none link to nickname. Someone should create a list (okay, I'll start)

-- dml

Ok whats the difference between a pseudonym, nickname and an alias ? Can royal and religious titles be considered pseudonyms, for e.g., is Dalai Lama a pseudonym for Tenzin Gyatso ? Jay 08:25, 15 Apr 2004 (UTC)
  • (copied from Wikipedia:Reference desk) Well, Dalai Lama should be considered a formal title rather than a pseudonym. Since Tenzin Gyatso is generally referred to in English as the Dalai Lama, that's a reference to a title rather than a name. I don't believe that the fact that the title supercedes the name matters in this case. A nickname is generally applied by other people, as opposed to one's self. I believe the main difference between alias and pseudonym is one of connotation; as an alias is more commonly used as a name taken to evade something, whereas a psudonym is usually adopted in order to hide one's actual name but not to actually evade anything. Hope this helps. [[User:Rhymeless|Rhymeless | (Methyl Remiss)]] 07:55, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)
No, royal and religious titles are not usually considered pseudonyms. A nickname is normally something that other people chose for the person, often a familiar and perhaps slightly derogative term. A pseudonym is another name that one choses generally oneself with specific purposes. Alias tends to imply a multiplicity of alternate names, often for illegal purposes. David.Monniaux 20:55, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)

My understanding is that nom de guerre is a pseudo-French expression. As a native French speaker, I never saw this expression used in French, only in English. David.Monniaux 07:20, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)

"Nom de guerre" is a well known french expression used for fighters : warriors, politics, trade-unionists... Please look at : [1].

As for El Greco and Lenin: I would say El Greco is a nickname since it was not adopted by him but rather used by others (I have deleted him from the list of pseudonyms), while Lenin is a pseudonym (or alias) since he used it himself. --Georgius 20:04, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Che Guevara is a nickname, according to Jon Lee Anderson and his biography on Che, named Che Guevara, given to him by his newfound Cuban friends when in Mexico planning the revolution. 09:04, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

Heinlein editor[edit]

Can anyone confirm that the "editor" in the Heinlein anecdote was Hugo Gernsback? I haven't heard this story before, but I'm 90% sure it was Gernsback anyway, because it's his style. Blair P. Houghton 23:40, 26 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Most of Heinlein's early fiction was published in the John W. Campbell edited Astounding Science Fiction. Among the pseudonyms that he used during that era were Anson MacDonald, Lyle Monroe, John Riverside and Caleb Saunders. BlankVerse 06:34, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Heinlein's editor was Campbell, yes. But although occasionally more than one Heinlein story would appear in the same issue of Astounding, he wasn't a good case of a prolific author using pseudonyms because of volume of output. He used pseudonyms to distinguish his Future History stories from other stories, and this decision enabled two stories to be published together without a duplication of name, rather than the other way around. While I was at it, I deleted the section on regnal numbers, which has nothing to do with pseudonyms. User:Kalimac

Whats The Point?[edit]

Well they help some while others it hurts. Hey now I have a few nicknames or A.K.A.'s that I use I love mine its easy to remember. Why should people not be able to use them? If people can use them so should authors!


Pseudonym vs. alias vs. alibi[edit]

Pseudonym from Greek pseudo + onym = false name. Alias from Latin alius = else, other. Alibi from Latin alibi = elsewhere.

Someone put in the origin of alibi for some reason. HKMARKS 21:57, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

Dodgy external link[edit]

I removed the "list of pseudonyms" link ( because upon going to the site, it asked me via a dialogue box to download some kind of anti virus software, and when I tried to close the box nothing happened and the back button on my browser had been disabled. There was also at least one dubious banner ad on the site, plus it played some annoying music. --Thoughtcat 12:42, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

Nom de guerre[edit]

According to the article Kunya, only Abu Ammar is a nom de guerre as opposed to an honorific. Abu Mazen refers to a son. I am unable to ascertain whether Abu Alaa refers to a son, so I shall leave it for the moment - the Palestinian National Authority website is down at the moment due to the Israeli 'incursion'. Oh, and only the "Che" part of Che Guevara is a nickname. Supersheep 14:30, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

"Abu <name> is a common kunya (honorific) for males in Arab cultures. It is translated to "Father of <name>." This is considered a measure of respect. From the kunya article: "Use of the kunya normally signifies some closeness between the speaker and the person so addressed, but is more polite than use of the first name." It is common for Israelis, for instance, to call Mahmoud Abbas by his given name, rather than by the kunya "Abu Mazzen." It is preferable to remove references to the kunya in the Nom de guerre section and place them instead in their own separate section, or simply move them to the kunya article. While it is true that in some cases these can be considered a nom de guerre(as with Yasser Arrafat, who has no son), it is also worth noting that this is a distinct practice in the Arab world, and the two terms are not synonymous.

- - - - -

The French were great at pseudonyms. In many small towns in Quebec, and possibly other French areas, as well, people had the same identical first and last name because they were related or just because they had popular names. So they were given "dit" names or nicknames to distinguish them from the other holders of the same name. These frequently became surnames when they seemed to sound better to the recipient. Drives genealogists wild!Student7 00:46, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

Nom de guerres in Sweden[edit]

I recall reading about conscripts in Sweden being assigned nom de guerres in the period before the reform on last names. They were assigned new last names when they didn't have one or had one that was deemed unfit, and the new last names were short words that were of a "warlike" and positive nature, such as Stål (steel), Kvick (quick) and Svärd (sword). This is all I know on the subject though, and I can't remember where I got it from. Does anyone know anything else about this?

Also, - and this is pure speculation on my part - could old officer's names like Stålhandske (steel gauntlet) have any connection with this practice? -- 22:45, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

Another interesting example[edit]

In order to avoid cries of nepotism as the nephew of Francis Ford Coppola, Cage changed his name from Nicolas Coppola early in his career. Perhaps it should be part of the main article, as the reason here differs from other reasons in an interesting way. 08:05, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Computer clan pseudos[edit]

Some bastards that have been editing that thing to promote themselves and their clan. Should it be removed? -- 17:55, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

These types of lists should never be in articles. They don't add anything.--Crossmr 23:17, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
  • It would seem that /b/tards have left their mark... I agree, the little list should be taken out. 12:44, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

origin of nom de guerre[edit]

The section on origins talks about the French army, and the earliest mentioned date is 1651 (although there is no mention of where this date comes from).

In the 1967 translation of Castiglione's The Book of the Courtier (Penguin, reprinted 2003), Bernardo Accolti, born in 1458 and dead in 1535, is said to have been "better known by his nickname, or nom de guerre of Unico Aretino". Of course, I don't know whether that means the term itself was being used at that time. 21:22, 16 April 2007 (UTC)John Denton

Some kids seem to be adding their names to the example clan name part, might wanna keep a check on it so they don't turn it from an example into clan advertising.

Pseudonyms and anonyms[edit]

Am I right in thinking pseudonyms are fake names that can be traced back to their originator (thus being pseudo-anonymous) and that anonyms are fake names that keep the person behind them completely anonymous? If so, the distinction should be worked into this article and the anonymity one. --BranER


The authors of this article obviously assume that "legally-valid" or "legally-given" names are the same as "true" or "authentic" names. Evidently, one can always come say that to invite the readers to think is not an "encyclopedic"/wikipedic goal... BTW, someone should have studied Ancient Greek harder (MUCH). KSM-2501ZX, IP address:= (talk) 14:19, 10 January 2008 (UTC)


What are the aliases for elements? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:20, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

Punk "Stage Names"[edit]

The (non-universal) practice of punk rock musicians adopting "stage names" was not an effort to sound "tpugh", but rather an ironic mockery of mainstream acts pretentiousness. At least that's what was said in the Midwest U.S. in the late 70's/early 80's. I can't currently find any sources supporting this, if anyone else can please edit accordingly (talk) 20:35, 12 August 2008 (UTC)


When becomes a label for a noun, normally used to distinguish one from another, or to be more precise a label for a proper noun in this case, turn fictitious? I thought that the Guns 'n' Roses were real? You catch my drift, I mean for many people it's true that their pseudonym is actually their 'name'. By that, people call him or her by her pseudonym all the time. This accounts for every day use. Not even arguing about the pure fictitiousness (linked it to arbitrariness) of names themselves. so: when is a name considered fictitious and distinguished for the 'apparent' not fictitious other names? Mallerd (talk) 10:32, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

If the name is not their legally recognized name or a simple variation of it ("Bill" instead of "William"), it is a pseudonym. - Jason A. Quest (talk) 12:15, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

I don't see fictitious in your answer. What does that mean for the lead, Jason? Simply looking at the word it means having an untrue or false name, like you said. How is it fictitious? Mallerd (talk) 17:58, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

Because things that are fictitious are not true, and things that are not true are fictitious. [2] - Jason A. Quest (talk) 19:01, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

My previous comment then: are the Guns 'n' Roses not true? Is Lenin not true? His born name is different. However, when people talk about Lenin, he is true. This wikipedia definition is simply fictitious. Mallerd (talk) 01:33, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Is English your native language? If not, I suggest that you don't try to play semantic word games in it. - Jason A. Quest (talk) 02:36, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, I suppose you didn't understand that last sentence was intended to be nonsense. Why don't you answer me, please? Why is it this definition is not altered to your first answer: pseudonym is a name for a person that is not their legally recognized name or a simple variation of it. I know that if I change it now, you'll revert it. Mallerd (talk) 10:27, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Quick note: I think it should change because the name 'William' (apart from it's meaning) is just as made up and not real as Guns 'n' Roses. Any word for that matter (which is translingual, thank you very much Jason), but I'll recognize you have to stop somewhere. Mallerd (talk) 10:31, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
I can't tell what you intend to be nonsense because so much of it is unintelligible sophistry. - Jason A. Quest (talk) 11:58, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Jesus Christ man, I'm not trying to mislead you :S if you didn't understand it, why did you respond then? Mallerd (talk) 13:55, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

I responded because I assumed that you were attempting to ask a question in good faith, just with a poor grasp of the language. If you are instead trying to start a debate over semantics for entertainment, please take it somewhere else. - Jason A. Quest (talk) 15:23, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
Jason A. Quest, it's clear that you haven't grasped the point that Mallerd has been making here. He's talking about the dodgy opening sentence in this article, which currently reads: A pseudonym is a fictitious name used by a person, or sometimes, a group. He's suggesting that "fictitious" is not a very good choice of word here. In what sense is it "fictitious"? As he has pointed out, the sense of "not true" or "false" (pseudo-) isn't very meaningful, since a pseudonym isn't a false name, exactly. That is why he was so confused that you didn't use the word "fictitious" in the explanation that you offered in response to his first posting. He tried to explain again, but again you didn't get it. You assumed that the fault was in his language skills and not with your comprehension. He wasn't playing word games, but addressing a fault in the article. I can give a false name when a police officer stops and questions me in the street, but this isn't the same thing as a pseudonym. A pseudonym isn't a work of fiction (to which it is currently linked), though I may use the former when I write the latter. The problem, of course, as so often in the encylopaedia, is a lack of reliable sources. So I have written a new definition based on these sources (google previewable): Room (2010) and Peschke (2006). I've used the MLA author-date system, as I'm assuming that these reference works will be ones used whenever names appearing in this article are fully-sourced at some point in the future. DionysosProteus (talk) 03:40, 5 April 2011 (UTC)

In first paragraph[edit]

I don't know if it's vandalism, or what, but the following section - as it currently appears in the first paragraph - seems nonsensical to me:

Actors, musicians, and other better matches their stage persona . . .

Ed8r (talk) 17:36, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

S.E. Hinton/C.L. Moore[edit]

S.E. Hinton is not a pseudonym. It is merely the abbreviated form of her real name. Similarly, C.L. Moore is not a pseudonym, but again, the abbreviated form of her real name. We don't think of H.G. Wells, P.G. Wodehouse, L.L. Bean, or A.A. Milne as 'pseudonyms', do we? (talk) 06:16, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

Albeit three years later, I have to agree with this editor that names like S. E. Hinton and C. L. Moore, which appear in the third paragraph of the section "Literary pen names", are not pseudonyms. I have noticed that most writers in England, in contrast to the U.S., generally publish with just their first initials plus last name. I am surprised no one responded to this comment. I think all of those names should be removed from the article with the exception of J. K. Rowling who has published under a real pseudonym.CorinneSD (talk) 21:06, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

House pseudonym[edit]

Should we split this into a separate item? I feel it probably could be. [sent from shared PC] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:36, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

Deletion of entire RS criminal alias section[edit]

Why were all the sources and all of the content deleted from the detailed criminal alias section, and the entire section and header deleted? Suggestions for paring down? (talk) 03:18, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

Please do not spam the talk page. One section for your complaints is enough. I suggest that you visit WT:Tambayan Philippines. There are some concerns regarding your edits. Moray An Par (talk) 02:58, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
Sorry. I was not trying to spam the talk page. I was just trying to organize into different topics. I will go to the WProject talk page as you suggest. Thanks. (talk) 03:18, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
Still, why was criminal aliases section deleted? This person likely had more fictitious business names than anyone in history, and there are complaints in federal court against her which allege just that. There was also a conviction in 2009, but they haven't caught her yet, because they used only a handful of her personal aliases in the complaint. (talk) 03:22, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

article is poorly sourced[edit]

article is poorly sourced. PPdd (talk) 02:30, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

Why was an entire section was deleted and marked as a "minor" edit.[edit]


An entire section was deleted and marked as a "minor" edit. Why "minor"? (talk) 02:47, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

I'm sorry. I didn't know it was marked minor. Moray An Par (talk) 02:50, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

RS basis for deletion of content?[edit]

Moray An Par deleted an entire section and its header with edit summary "removing User:PDdd's edits: not worth mentioning; there are many other more infamous criminals with aliases". What is the RS for this assertion. Pearlasia Gamboa was on 60 minutes, Washington Post, etc, all because of her method of using aliases. This woman may have the most number of fictitous business name aliases of anyone in history. She bought the biggest house in Beverly Hills solely on her criminal use of aliases. (talk) 02:45, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

Section on Sockpuppets and Meatpuppets as aliases[edit]

Section on Sockpuppets and Meatpuppets as aliases is needed. Does anyone have RS at hand? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:48, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

This article is slanted towards an extremely negative view of pseudonyms. Please revise. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Digikat (talkcontribs) 03:36, 29 November 2011 (UTC)


Sound of Music, I don't know what solecisms you are referring to, but it is very common for what is initially a solecism to become common usage. --Ehrenkater (talk) 12:05, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

Sorry if your edit wasn't what I meant to be reverting - I was referring to nom de plume - which had a brief vogue many years ago but is really no longer used in literary circles, except perhaps facetiously, as it is very well known (at least by the educated) that it IS a solecism.
I may be an old pedant - and if I had citicised the use of "nom de plume" in a casual conversation, or a popular newspaper article, for instance, you may well have had a point. But this IS an encyclopedia - where we really need to use the language correctly. The best justification for the use of a foreign word or phrase in English is if it covers a concept we cannot say so neatly in English (lots of examples will spring to mind without my mentioning them). But this is one case where English is actually MORE precise than the French - because, very simply, our phrase is isn't French at all, or it is pseudo-French - a "translation" of the English term pen name on the analogy of nom de guerre - which in "real" French covers all pseudonyms.--Soundofmusicals (talk) 12:28, 16 July 2012 (UTC)


The second sentence of the Etymology section needs a rewrite: the two consecutive "which"es make it unintelligible. Paul Magnussen (talk) 20:16, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

Indiscriminate spattering of "cn" tags all over this article[edit]

Some of these arguably do need a cite, but a lot of them are just plain silly - varying from "grass is green" obvious to "multiple tags on one sentence". Someone really needs to go through the article and clean these out (while taking care of the genuinely doubtful or controversial statements). If no one comes to the party I am just going to just wipe ALL the tags - throwing the baby out with the bathwater - but preferable to the current mess. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 02:22, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

I agree that some of the citation needed tags are unnecessary, but I think others are needed. I feel that many claims are made in this article for which no source is given and in some cases no examples are given, either. I would support your going through the article and removing the ones that are really not necessary.
There is one item that needs to be clarified or removed from the article: the reference to Sarah Palin's use of "a private Yahoo account". While some readers may find it obvious that she used a pseudonym, no mention of a pseudonym is made. I think the connection to "pseudonym" needs to be made if it is to serve as a good example.CorinneSD (talk) 21:02, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

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Multiple pseudonyms[edit]

As there are a number of people who used several pseudonyms, pen names and other variants should there be a list? (Eleanor Hibbert and David Bowie are probably two of the best known: and perhaps a few of those who are known to have used 100 plus alternative names.) 22:29, 23 August 2016 (UTC)

Pen names, etc.[edit]

The section of pen names was confusing. The best-written part - before I messed around with it - described European lady writers using male names to get published in the 18th or 19th centuries. The worst part was using Mark Twain and Lewis Carroll as examples of things that they didn't really exemplify.

Dodgson wanted to separate his literary life from his real life as a college professor and did not like to be addressed as Lewis Carroll - particularly on fan mail. Clemens was quite the opposite, enjoying his fame as Mark Twain. --Uncle Ed (talk) 12:33, 15 March 2017 (UTC)

Hardy Boys[edit]

How about Franklin W. Dixon, the pen name used by a variety of different authors (Leslie McFarlane, a Canadian author, being the first)? We might mention whether the different authors chose this pen name spontaneously, or it was an idea that came from the publisher. --Uncle Ed (talk) 14:20, 22 March 2017 (UTC)