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I am looking for a Latin word for "pseudonym". My (Finnish–Latin–Finnish) dictionary gives the translation pseudōnymum. However, this word seems to be absent in Lewis & Short, and no Latin word for "pseudonym" can be found. The Latin Wikipedia article about the word mentions sources from the 19th century.

This leads to a couple of questions:

  1. How old is the Latin word pseudonymum?
  2. What are the classical ways to say "pseudonym"?

My guess is that pseudonymum is too young to be classical, but I have no evidence. I have found some ancient instances of nomen falsum, but I wonder if this is the only expression or the preferred one.

Partial answers are welcome if you cannot provide a full answer to both questions.

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    I think a Roman author would probably say something like sub facie or, why not, cognomen? – Cerberus Jul 3 '16 at 21:14
  • @Cerberus, I thought cognomen is more "additional name" than "false name". An expression like sub facie sounds like a decent translation in many contexts, but I don't see how to use it to refer to the concept of a pseudonym itself. – Joonas Ilmavirta Jul 3 '16 at 21:30
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The adjective ψευδώνυμος “falsely called” is good classical Greek, so one would expect the corresponding noun to be *ψευδώνυμον (neuter) “a false name”, and as such borrowable into Latin.

The Oxford English Dictionary traces “the Latinate form” pseudonymus to the 17th century.

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In addition to family names and given names, if a fourth name is taken it is either a descriptive title. in which case it is agnomen, agnominis; (e.g. Cato Censorinus)

or it is a nick-name, 'cognomen, cognominis.' (Cic.)

cognominati ergo simus, aut cognominatae.

(cognomino -Pliny, Suetonius)

pseudonymus, m. is listed in the 'late, uncouth, and barbaric' section of Ainsworth as a 'false name,' along with pseudomartyrs, pseudobishops, pseudodeacons, and the smelly pseudacorus. No citations.

Smith's 'Smaller English-Latin' 1870/1936, has the following entry:

alias: Phr. Turner alias Powell, *Turner aliter nominatus Powell.

(asterisk * means non-classical)

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