Pseudonym

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A pseudonym is a fictitious name used by a person, or sometimes, a group.

Pseudonyms are often used to hide an individual's real identity, as with writers' pen names, graffiti artists' tags, resistance fighters' or terrorists' noms de guerre, and computer hackers' handles. Actors, musicians, and other performers sometimes use stage names, for example, to mask their ethnic backgrounds. Stage names are also used as something that better matches their stage personae, as in the case of hip hop artists such as Ol' Dirty Bastard (who was known under at least six aliases); black metal performers such as Nocturno Culto; and hardcore punk singers such as "Rat" of Discharge. Employers sometimes require employees to use assigned names to help sell products. Another example of a pseudonym is Lemony Snicket, used by an author who wanted to hide his identity.

In some cases, pseudonyms are adopted because they are part of a cultural or organizational tradition. This has been the case of devotional names used by members of some religious orders, and "cadre names" used by Communist party leaders such as Trotsky and Stalin.

A collective name or collective pseudonym is one shared by two or more persons. This is sometimes used by the co-authors of a work, such as Ellery Queen, or Bourbaki.

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