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Names for Name

When filling out forms, or writing checks, a person signs a font name and a cognomen, but usually not a hypocoristic. A writer who wishes to remain anonymous must decide between using a nom de plume or an allonym, or in some cases, an agnomen might do the trick.

Forename, cognomen, hypocoristic, nom de plume, allonym, and agnomen are all words that mean name; however, just like “first name” and “last name,” they’re different kinds of names. In English there are many different names for name; some are everyday words, others are almost completely unknown.


Name – "A word, or words, by which a person, place, or object is known." From Old English nama, from Proto-Germanic namon.


  • Baptismal name – Name given at time of baptism.
  • Christian name – Same as baptismal name.
  • Font name – Referring to the baptismal font, name given at time of baptism.
  • Forename – Name before the last name. Old English fore, "before, in front of," + nama, “name.”
  • Given name – Name given at time of birth or baptism.
  • Personal name – Baptismal name.
  • Chosen name – Name chosen by parents, or those who gave the name.
  • Appellation – From Middle French appeler, "name."
  • Appellative – Form of appellation.
  • Handle – Slang term for name.
  • Label – Slang term for name.


  • Surname – Last name, modeled on Anglo-French surnoun, "surname."
  • Family name – Surname.
  • Cognomen – Surname (or any name), from Latin, meaning 3rd, or family name of a Roman citizen.
  • Appellation – From Latin appellatus, "name."
  • Appellative – Form of appellation.
  • Maiden name – A woman’s surname before marriage.


  • Nickname – Incorrect division of ekename, literally "an additional name," from Old English eaca, "an increase," related to eacian, "to increase."
  • Cognomen – (see above)
  • Pet name – Endearing nickname.
  • Pretty name – Pet name.
  • Sobriquet – From French sobriquet, "nickname," from Middle French soubriquet, literally "a chuck under the chin," of unknown origin.
  • Tag – Slang term for name.
  • Byname – Often a shortened form of first name, for example: Matt for Matthew.
  • Hypocoristic – From Greek hypokoristikós “diminutive,” Late Latin hypocorisma, “to call by endearing names.” [1]
  • Agnomen – From Latin ad-, (influenced by agnōscere, "to recognize") + nōmen. [1]
  • Moniker – Of uncertain origin; perhaps from monk (monks and nuns take new names with their vows).
  • Handle – (see above)
  • Familiar name – Byname.
  • Label – (see above)


  • Pseudonym: French pseudonyme, from Greek pseudonymos, "having a false name.”
  • Alias – False name used to protect or hide one’s true identity. From Latin, form of alius "at another time, in another way," "(an)other."
  • Pen name – Pseudonym used by an author.
  • Stage name – Pseudonym used by an actor.
  • Allonym – The name of an actual author or person of reputation affixed to a work he or she did not write.
  • Anonym – Form of anonymous: Greek anonymos "without a name.”
  • Summer name – Pseudonym.
  • Code name – A name used to hide a person’s real identity, as would be used by a spy.
  • Nom de plume – French nom de plume, "pen name."
  • Nom de guerre – French nom de guerre, a name used by a person engaged in some action, literally, "war name."
  • Nom de theatre – French nom de théâtre, "stage name."
  • Assumed name – Alias.
  • False name – Alias.
  • Fictitious name – Made-up name.

Note: Unless otherwise indicated, all etymologies are from Online Etymology Dictionary.





Author: Madeleine Wieder

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