A pseudonym (/
SEW-də-nim) or alias is a
name that a person or group assumes for a particular purpose, which can differ from their original or true name (
stage names and
user names (both called screen names),
villain identities and code names, gamer identifications, and
regnal names of
popes, and other
monarchs. Historically, they have often taken the form of
anagrams, Graecisms, and
Latinisations, although there are many other methods of choosing a pseudonym.
Pseudonyms should not be confused with new names that replace old ones and become the individual's full-time name. Pseudonyms are "part-time" names, used only in certain contexts – usually adopted to hide an individual's real identity, as with writers'
graffiti artists' tags,
resistance fighters' or
terrorists' noms de guerre, and computer
Actors, musicians, and other performers sometimes use
stage names, for example, to mask their ethnic backgrounds.
In some cases, pseudonyms are adopted because they are part of a cultural or organisational tradition: for example
devotional names used by members of some
religious institutes, and "cadre names" used by
Communist party leaders such as
A pseudonym may also be used for personal reasons: for example, an individual may prefer to be called or known by a name that differs from their given or
legal name, but is not ready to take the numerous steps to get their name
legally changed; or an individual may simply feel that the context and content of an exchange offer no reason, legal or otherwise, to provide their given or legal name.
A collective name or collective pseudonym is one shared by two or more persons, for example the co-authors of a work, such as
Ellery Queen, or