A moniker (or "monicker") is a slang expression for a nickname, pseudonym, or cognomen.
Typically, this title is used as a personal or 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
, 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
. 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.