AskDefine | Define moniker

Dictionary Definition

moniker n : a familiar name for a person (often a shortened version of a person's given name); "Joe's mother would not use his nickname and always called him Joseph"; "Henry's nickname was Slim" [syn: nickname, cognomen, sobriquet, soubriquet]

User Contributed Dictionary



First attested 1849, of uncertain origin. There are many speculations as to where the term originates from; possibly monk or Shelta munik, name [from the Irish ainm itself]


  • /ˈmɒnɪkə(r)/
  • /"mQnIk@(r)/



monicker (plural monickers)
monniker (plural monnikers)
monacer (plural monacers)
  1. A personal name or nickname.
    The rookie policewoman was upset being called Lemon Drop until she realized that everyone on the police force has a moniker.



A personal name or nickname

Extensive Definition

A moniker (or "monicker") is a pseudonym, or cognomen.
Typically, this title is used as a professional name, instead of the person's given name, for works of art, music, books, or performances.
Monikers are commonly used in small subcultures such as in railroad tramping (i.e.,"Baltimore Red") and on Internet message boards.

Origin of the word

Although there are various theories about the origin of the word, the most widely accepted is that it comes from Shelta, the cant language of Irish travellers. The word is believed to have derived from the Irish word ainm, and became munik in Shelta. It had spread to London as an English slang word for "name" by 1851. The first line of the Lord's Prayer translated into a modern version of Shelta is: "Our gathra, who cradgies in the manyak-norch, we turry kerrath about your moniker."

Monicker in clowning

The word "monicker" or more rarely, "monikker" is, among clowns, most often intentionally misspelled, with a 'c' in accordance with clown tradition that some words are inherently funny (and hence to be preferred over 'unfunny' words). The "clown world" has widely embraced "monicker" as equivalent to a stage name or pseudonym. A monicker is considered by a professional clown to be sacrosanct by the traditional code of non-infringement. The monicker is considered to be an attribute of the character of the clown and not of the performer. Monicker, in clown usage, can generally be considered synonymous with the terms "clown name" and "Professional name". In declining use, it may mean a clown performer's personal nickname, (e.g. "Joseph Grimaldi's monicker was Joey.") rather than the name of the performer's clown.

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

appellation, appellative, binomen, binomial name, byname, byword, cognomen, cryptonym, denomination, designation, empty title, epithet, eponym, euonym, handle, honorific, hyponym, label, name, namesake, nomen, nomen nudum, proper name, proper noun, scientific name, secret name, sobriquet, style, tag, tautonym, title, trinomen, trinomial name
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