By Don L. F. Nilsen and
Alleen Pace Nilsen
Acronyms, Initialisms and Numbers
O. J. Simpson ( was known as the juice and was a spokesman for Orange Juice).
Tony Dorset had the initials T.D. meaning “touchdown.”
Note that Siddhartha Gautama and Jesus of Nazareth are known by their roles—Buddha and Christ or Savior.
In Peanuts there are characters named 3, 4, and 5.
Barry Humphreys, Bruce Banner, Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, Peter Parker, Wolverine
Dame Edna, The Hulk, Batman, Superman, Spiderman; Wolverine’s aliases depend on the situation
Note that Superman has to become Clark Kent to keep from being a superhero, while Bruce Wayne hides his identity by becoming Batman.
Prince the artist formerly known as Prince. He is also known as “The Love Symbol.”
The Love Symbol a.k.a. ?
6.Hugh Jackman a.k.a. ?
Then there are the doppelgangers, like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
There are also secret-service names like
POTUS for Barack Obama
FLOTUS for Michelle Obama
Broomstick One for Hillary Clinton
Sawhorse for Al Gore
Angler for Dick Cheney
Evergreen for Hillary Clinton
Phoenix for John McCain.
8.FLOTUS a.k.a. ?
In the Lemony Snicket books, Count Olaf is an anagram of
and Dr. O. Lucafont.
In the Harry Potter books,
Tom Marvolo Riddle is an anagram of
“I am Lord Voldemort.”
10.Aptronyms in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress
Mr. Great Heart
11.Foreman Flacutono a.k.a. ?
Allerest allergy medicine
Mylanta antacid medicine
Timothy Wong says that traditional Chinese males with some social status used to be given at least three names, an official name (usually linked to other male siblings), a nickname used by family members (where you may find the repeated syllable), and a "courtesy name" used by friends and people who want to give the person respect.
He adds that this practice changed in modern times, and was sometimes extended to females, who also take on pen names in the twentieth century if they published something.
17.Mexico City Zoo:
Washington D.C. Zoo:
In today’s China, parents often give their children double names as a mark of affection.
Since Pandas are native only to China, Pandas also receive double names.
21.Mrs. Malaprop from Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s The Rivals
Ford Ranger XLT
In Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind she had a character named Pansy.
On the advice of her editor she changed the name to Scarlett O’Hara.
James Bond, Karl Malone
007, The Mailman (because of his number 32, the cost of a stamp at that time, and because “he delivers!”)
In Get Smart Maxwell Smart was Agent 86 and his sidekick was Agent 99.
26.Karl Malone a.k.a. ?
Authors like S. E. Hinton and J. K. Rowling use initials.
And Mary Evans George Eliot.
Cassius Clay, Daniel Michaeli, David Cornwell, Jerry Rivers, Lesane Parish Crooks, Lew Alcindor, Susan Weaver
Muhammad Ali, Danny DeVito, John Le Carré, Geraldo Rivera, Tupac Amaru Shakur, Kareem Abdul Jabar, Sigourney Weaver
29.Cassius Clay a.k.a.?
Away from Ethnicity
Aaron Chwatt, Avram Chomsky, Bernard Schwartz, Carlos Estevez, Carlos Ray, David Kaminsky, Dino Crocetti, Doris von Kappelhoff, Enrique Martin Morales, Frederick Austerlitz, Gerald Silberman
Red Buttons, Noam Chomsky, Tony Curtis, Charlie Sheen, Chuck Norris, Danny Kaye, Dean Martin, Doris Day, Ricky Martin, Fred Astaire, Gene Wilder
32.Frederick Austerlitz a.k.a. ?
Jacob Cohen, Jennifer Anastassakis, Joan Molinsky, Jonathan Leibowitz, Joseph Levitch, Larry Zeigler, Louise Ciccone Ritchie, Margarita Cansino, Melvin Kaminsky, Paul Rubenfeld, Raquel Tejada, Salvatore Bono, Winona Horowitz
Rodney Dangerfield, Jennifer Aniston, Joan Rivers, Jon Stewart, Jerry Lewis, Larry King, Madonna, Rita Hayworth, Mel Brooks, Pee-Wee Herman, Raquel Welch, Sonny Bono, Winona Ryder
34.Jacob Cohen a.k.a. ?
Andre Young, Dana Owens, Frances Gumm, Gary Keillor, James Bumbarner
Dr. Dre, Queen Latifah, Judy Garland, Garrison Keillor, James Garner
NOTE: We don’t normally go in this direction. We would prefer to be thought of as informal and maybe a bit off beat.
36.Frances Gumm a.k.a. ?
Away from Formality
Aaron Chwatt, Allen Konigsberg, Caryn Johnson, Clerow Wilson, Cordazer Broadus, Dante Smith, David Atkins, Gordon Sumner, James Osterberg, James Smith, John Sanford, Joseph Keaton
Red Buttons, Woody Allen, Whoopi Goldberg, Flip Wilson, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Mos Def, Sinbad, Sting, Iggy Pop, LL Cool J, Redd Foxx, Buster Keaton
The rapper Christopher Wallace Notorious B.I.G. and then “Biggie Smalls.”
38.Caryn Johnson a.k.a. ?
Away from Formality
Curtis Jackson, Leonard Hackett, Louis Armstrong, Marshall Mathers, Marvin Aday, Milton Superman, Oshea Jackson, Otha Bates, Phyllis Driver, Robert Van Winckle, Salvatore Bono, Scott Thompson, Shelton Lee, Stanley Burrell, Tracy Morrow
50 Cent, Buddy Hacket, Satchmo, Eminem, Meat Loaf, Soupy Sales, Ice Cube, Bo Diddley, Phyllis Diller (note assonance), Vanilla Ice, Sonny Bono, Carrott Top, Spike Lee, M. C. Hammer, Ice-T
40.Louis Armstrong a.k.a. ?
Away from Old Fashioned
Herbert Gleason, Goldie Studlendgehawn, Malcolm Little, Marion Michael Morrison (also away from gender ambiguity)
Jackie Gleason, Goldie Hawn, Malcolm X, John Wayne
42.Marion Michael Morrison a.k.a. ?
Donald, Edward, Elizabeth, Francis, Gerald, Harold, Jacqueline, John, Joseph, Josephine, Judith, Leonard, Lucille, Margaret, Marjorie, Melvin, Nicholas, Patrick, Richard, Robert, Salvatore, Samuel, Susan, Theodore, Thomas, William
Don, Ed, Lizzy/Lisa/Beth/Betsy/Elsbeth, Frank, Jerry, Harry/Hal, Jackie, Johnny/Jack, Joe, Jo (in Little Women), Judy, Leo, Lucy, Maj/Margo/Maggie/Meg/ Marge/Peggy/Peg, Mel, Nick (this is his “nick-name,” Pat, Dick, Bob, Sal, Sam, Sue/Suzie/Suzie Que, Ted, Tom, Will/Bill/Billie
Patronyms (first names become last names)
Brian, Casey, Connor, Donald, Gerald, Jack, John, Murry, Neil, Owen, Patrick, Reilly, Ryan, Will
O’Brian, O’Casey, O’Connor, McDonald/O’Donald, Fitzgerald, Jackson, Johnson, McMurry, Neilsen/McNeil/O’Neil, Bowen (Ap Owen), Fitzpatrick, O’Reilly, O’Ryan, Wilson
Charles Dodgson, Daniel Handler, Richard Bachman, Samuel Clemens
Lewis Carroll, Lemony Snicket, Stephen King, Mark Twain
And Theodore Seuss Geisel Dr. Seuss, Theo Le Seig, and Rosetta Stone
46.Samuel Clemens a.k.a. ?
47.In the early 1800s, Louisa May Alcott’s father, Bronson, changed their family name.
The name Allcox became Alcott.
48.Louisa May Alcott
49.When Ernest Hemingway was in high school (1916-1917) he used all of the following pen names:
Ernest MacNamara Hemingway
Ernest Michaelowitch Hemingway
Ernest Miller Hemingway
These names tend to be mild insults. Please tell us the pet names of people you know. For example:
I have a cat that I call “Dipper Hips.”
That’s my cat’s “pet name.”
My own name is Don Lee Fred Nilsen, so people used to call me Dolphin (DLFN). When people call me Donald, I correct them by saying, “No, Donald is the duck.” In the army I went to German operas, so my buddies called me “Fledermaus.”
52.Die Fledermaus a.k.a. ?
53.Muppets: Waldorf & Astoria
Mary Maria Marianne
“Ave Maria,” marionnette
Note that in the music industry most of the Pseudonyms are quite dark or playful, like the following:
Alien, Buck Satan, Hypo Luxa, Jello Biafra
Recycling of Names
David Copperfield (Dickens Character), Dolly Parton (Country Singer), & Englebert Humperdink (Opera Composer), Yogi Berra (baseball catcher)
David Copperfield (magician, né David Kotkin), Dolly (sheep cloned from a mammary gland), & Englebert Humperdink (singer, né Arnold Dorsey), Yogi Bear (cartoon character)
On Lost, the con-man James Ford takes on the alias of “Sawyer” from another con-man who goes by the name of “Tom Sawyer.” He is part capitalist (Ford) and part con-man “Sawyer.”
56.Who is it? A.K.A.?
The Name Jacques in France
In France, the non-aristocrats were called “La Jacquerie.” Originally this referred to any peasant or non-aristocrat, but later it referred to the “peasant uprising” that marched from Marseille to Paris and stormed the Bastille.
In Charles Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities, three of the characters are named Jacques 1, Jacques 2 and Jacques 3.
In 1920, Alan Bolt became America’s first important sexy movie star.
But first, he had to change his name to Rudolph Valentino.
In his first movie, Arnold Schwarzenegger went by the name of Arnold Strong.
His agent told him that Americans would never say Schwarzenegger.
But he went back to his original name, telling his agent,
“They can learn!”
Casanova, Don Juan, Sam, St. Patrick
a casanova, Byron’s Don Juan, and Mozart’s Don Giovanni, *Uncle Sam, St. Patrick’s Day
*Note “Uncle Sam” “United States.”
63.United States a.k.a. ?
When settlers came to Arizona, they invented such place names as:
Inspiration, Paradise Valley
65.But people just passing through Arizona invented such names as:
Hookers Hot Springs
Cody, Montana, Tex, The Virginian
Chevy Chase, Dakota Fanning, Indiana Jones, Minnesota Fats, Rock Hudson & Tennessee Williams
Cornelius Chase, Henry Deutschendorf, Janet Rasmussen, River Bottom
Chevy Chase, John Denver, Janet Reno, River Phoenix
67.Harrison Ford a.k.a. ?
Names Web Sites
American Name Society: