What's the story behind your username?

If you are one of us folks whose username is not your actual name, what is the story behind it?

I'll go first.

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    Uh-oh, good luck proving @MikeEdenfield is not a false name! – Möoz Oct 12 '15 at 2:57
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    I just copied my username from StackOverflow. Prosaic as hell :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Oct 12 '15 at 3:04
  • @DVK : Short but sweet, both the story and the name! ;-) – Praxis Oct 12 '15 at 3:05
  • @Praxis, point of clarification, in my opinion, part of what's the story ought to include why did you pick it – ThePopMachine Oct 12 '15 at 5:50
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    @ThePopMachine : I'd prefer people be able simply to contribute whatever they think is interesting. – Praxis Oct 12 '15 at 6:29
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    Fun question! Why the downvotes? – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Oct 12 '15 at 6:57
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    @Wikis, (Not me but) I would imagine people are voting on the legitimate position that this is not on-topic for meta because it's not about questions, answers, scope, or how the site works. (But I find that position to be no fun.) – ThePopMachine Oct 12 '15 at 14:18
  • @ThePopMachine: thank you for that explanation. If that is the case, they should vote to close rather than downvote. – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Oct 12 '15 at 14:59
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    @Wikis : To counter ThePopMachine's explanation, cataloguing memes and organizing movie nights are also not about questions, answers, scope, or how the site works, but meta has been used frequently for those purposes. Therefore, there is plenty of precedence for this type of question, and they should not vote to close this without voting to close those too. – Praxis Oct 12 '15 at 15:05
  • @Wikis : I suspect they are not downvoting for the reason that ThePopMachine has suggested (he is almost uniquely concerned with whether things are on-topic or not), but rather just because they are not "into" this kind of fun question. Clearly you and I both see the value of it. :-) – Praxis Oct 12 '15 at 15:07
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    @Praxis: all possible theories. But unless the downvoters explain, we can only speculate. It seems a wasted opportunity. – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Oct 12 '15 at 15:10
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    @randal'thor: how do you know it is one person? Each answer has two downvotes, maybe we have two unhappy campers. – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Oct 12 '15 at 20:42
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    @randal'thor : To each, their own. Let's not let it stop us from doing something intended to be fun and community-building. :-) – Praxis Oct 12 '15 at 20:52
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    I would have taken my usual username (used at online game services like Xbox Live, Steam, UBI, etc) if I hadn't registered at StackOverflow first and there I found it appropriate to use my real name, even though it is a rather common one. – Thomas Feb 2 '16 at 14:28
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    This question is inspiring to me. I should start a meta post on the many passwords of SFF se... – CHEESE Mar 11 '16 at 19:05

66 Answers 66


In "Heaven Sent," the 11th episode of the 9th season of the reboot of Doctor Who, the Doctor quotes the tale of the shepherd-boy, from the Brothers Grimm:

There’s this emperor, and he asks the shepherd’s boy: How many seconds in eternity? And the shepherd’s boy says, ‘There’s this mountain of pure diamond. It takes an hour to climb it and an hour to go around it. Every hundred years a little bird comes and sharpens its beak on the diamond mountain. And when the entire mountain is chiseled away, the first second of eternity will have passed.’

The Doctor's mountain of pure diamond is my profile picture:

enter image description here

Adamant is an archaic word for (among other things) diamond, as seen in a few versions of "The Shepherd's Boy":

"The third question," said the King, "is: How many seconds in eternity?"

—To this the little shepherd-boy replied, In a remote district of Pomerania there is a mountain of adamant.

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    Technically, what the Doctor had was not a mountain of pure diamond but a wall of azbantium, 400 times harder than diamond. – Rand al'Thor Jul 13 '16 at 8:16
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    @Randal'Thor - Nor was he technically a bird. ;) If poetic license is good enough for the Doctor.... – Adamant Jul 13 '16 at 8:18
  • I was thinking it was like inexorable. – Aegon Jul 15 '16 at 9:48
  • So, what was your username before Adamant and Obie? – RedCaio Oct 2 '16 at 20:41
  • A while ago I suddenly see all these HP questions getting new, really good answers by someone called adamant and I looked at the rep and saw ~40k and I was like "how can someone have that much rep and be a HP fan and yet I've never noticed them before?" Hence my interest in what you went by before that. So, was that your username before? – RedCaio Oct 2 '16 at 20:46
  • @RedCaio - Yes............ – Adamant Oct 2 '16 at 20:46
  • wait, so did you have loads of rep before or is that a recent development? – RedCaio Oct 2 '16 at 20:49
  • @RedCaio - Yep, loads of rep. I did not do much until, what, April? Then I got about 25,000 reputation between then and August. I slowed down after that. – Adamant Oct 2 '16 at 20:49
  • @RedCaio - Would you rather discuss this in a chat room? It is getting a bit chatty for a comment thread. – Adamant Oct 2 '16 at 20:54
  • @RedCaio - Here. – Adamant Oct 2 '16 at 20:58

My first handle was SonOfSam, which I picked because:

  1. "Sam" was the first (non-gibberish) output a random-name generator I made years ago came up with, and
  2. Mad Max had recently released and I like alliteration, so I thought it sounded similar and cool

I had no idea that that was also the name of a famed serial killer(!), and I felt bad about unknowingly parading myself around as a fan of his. So I did some research on him, and found out that there are two officers who are credited for arresting the Son of Sam: William Gardella, and Timothy Dowd.

Gardella went on to give presentations where he'd go over general serial killer stuff and then describe the Son of Sam case specifically.

Dowd received an almost unheard of two promotions for his investigative work that brought down the Son-o-Sam, going from deputy inspector to deputy chief (DCOP). He retired a year later, and from what I can tell, led a pretty normal and quiet life until he passed away at the ripe age of 99.

Seeing as I'm more of the introvert type and not a stranger to rising more than one rank at a time (ladies ;)), I chose the one who wasn't putting themselves out in the spotlight, therefore,


Since I don't think I'm capable of giving an answer without any kind of cited source, here's more info on Mr. Dowd for those curious enough.

I also like giving pictures apparently, so here's one of Dowd working on the Son of Sam case back in 1977. Pretty handsome dude, actually.

Anyway, that's my story.


Mal - as in the root of all evil...

From the Latin “malum”, meaning “evil”.


Long story short, it's the combination of old nicknames, newer coined ones, and the difficulty of securing a unique username on most sites.

In my Freshman year of college, I joined a group named The Fuzzies run by Father Matt Komescher at the University of Dayton. We had blue buttons with the word "Fuzzy" on them and membership cards. We'd pledged to make the world a better place by being nice to people and "giving at least one warm fuzzy a day". Because I wore the pin every day, I quickly became nicknamed "Fuzzy". When I started my first job after college, I still wore the pin, but one of my co-workers kept adding to the nickname until he finally settled on a simplification of FuzzyBoots because I also occasionally wore into work a set of bright yellow Caterpillar boots.

Being a common name, Fuzzy was a difficult username to secure, so I started using FuzzyBoots on many sites.

Up until today, I was just using my name, Sean Duggan, on the site, but I figure I ought to embrace the idea of a proper alias. ^_^

  • Thanks for sharing, Fuzzy! :-) – Praxis Feb 2 '16 at 2:56
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    These boots are made for fuzzin' / And that's just what they'll do – SQB May 27 '16 at 8:22

I'm just bleh.

Complete bleh.


From the English nursery rhyme.

Jack be nimble,
Jack be quick,
Jack jump over
The candlestick.

I made the decision to abbreviate my middle name.


Boring answer for you:

My user ID used to be my real name, but, as we got bigger, I decided to put at least a LITTLE bit of obfuscation between me and any random trolls / web-spiders, etc., and I switched to my initials. Years ago, I tried to buy the domain of my initials (khw.com), but there's someone with the same initials who had the same idea and has been sitting on it for 10 years or so. (No web page there, just 'under construction', but I can't really criticize, as I rarely have anything on my domain, either. Just temporary pages I put up for one thing or another.)

So, I bought the next best thing, to my way of thinking.. k-h-w.com.

Sigh -- do you KNOW how many sites don't think that's a POP3 compliant format? Bah.

Regardless, I've had the site for years, now, tho, so when I decided to remove my actual name k-h-w seemed the obvious choice.

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    Thanks for this, @K-H-W! – Praxis Dec 24 '15 at 1:19

I usually go with the name Spicy Wiener or swissdude323 (123 was taken). But after finding I really enjoyed Tolkien's world and becoming a regular on the Tolkien subs on reddit, I decided I needed a Sindarin name, so I chose Edlothiad.

edlothiad ger. of edlothia- blossoming, flowering <- edlothiand WR/293 Actually, edlothiand might be a misreading, according to David Salo who checked the original manuscript at Marquette and reported that his reading was unmistakably edlothiad.

I chose this name because my love for Tolkien had just begun to blossom and I wanted to nurture it. I also thought the name was very cool sounding, and the nickname Ed was very applicable.

  • ..."123 was taken", bahahaa, I lost my shit! – Möoz Oct 16 '19 at 3:06
  • @Möoz the truth don’t lie – Edlothiad Oct 16 '19 at 6:04

I can't go through all of the answers yet because I've burned through my votes and I want to be able to do them justice as I read them. But it's a fascinating thread and when my votes kick back in, I'll be back to reading everyone's reasons.

That having been said, my story is simple, if a little mushy. rosesunhill is my newish user name on a lot of sites. My name is Michael Hillel Roseman, I have two sons, so rose-sun-hill, allowing for a little mutation in the middle part. It's easy for me to remember and I've yet to find it taken on a site. I dread that day.

Now I'm thinking of painting a thumbnail that represents the handle.

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    Thanks for sharing! I was actually wondering how to parse your username (e.g. "rose-sunhill" or "roses-unhill"). Now I know! :-) – Praxis Mar 20 '16 at 15:49
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    @Praxis - My pleasure! Yours, I deduced, being a good Trekkie. – rosesunhill Mar 20 '16 at 16:01
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    @rosesunhill The word Praxis is found all over the place, not just Star Trek. But of course our Praxis is a Trekkie through and through :-) – Rand al'Thor Mar 20 '16 at 17:12
  • I’ve been wondering this ever since you joined the site. – Molag Bal Mar 20 '16 at 19:55
  • @amaretto - Really? I guess I need that thumbnail. I hope it's not like "The Oneders." Don't tell me if it is. I think. – rosesunhill Mar 20 '16 at 20:48
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    @rosesunhill I just couldn’t parse your name correctly, as evidenced by my guessing your gender wrong yesterday... :-| – Molag Bal Mar 20 '16 at 21:02

My user name, TheLethalCarrot, is taken from my gaming name used on all new communities I join.

It used to be TheLethalCoder which was an extension from the above as I had originally joined Stack Exchange on Stack Overflow and so wanted to change it a bit to be more appropriate, it still is that on most sites.

However, recently @Edlothiad informed me that there was a charcter in A Song of Ice and Fire called Carrot and so I updated back to the original:

Carrot, you'll have charge of their chests and boxes.

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    Woohoo, shout out to cha boiiiiiiiii! – Edlothiad Sep 19 '17 at 21:11
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    @Edlothiad You're SFF Famous! – TheLethalCarrot Sep 20 '17 at 8:05

When I was named, my parents searched for a name that wouldn't get abbreviated.

They failed.

  • My first name is Julie. Invariably, everyone I know calls me "Jules". I like it! I don't mind at all. – Slytherincess Apr 27 '20 at 20:52

I'm not using my usual username, because I need to protect my identity...

Well, really...

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    Are you Batman? – Valorum Dec 25 '15 at 13:38
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    @Richard: Errrr..... Possibly... – Mithical Dec 25 '15 at 13:58
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    @Richard No, he's Spock. – Rand al'Thor Jan 21 '16 at 13:05
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    @randal'thor - The childcare expert? – Valorum Jan 21 '16 at 13:10

My username is the child of pure creativity.
When I was in my early teenage years I liked to read Naruto mangas.
Naruto's father, was the 4th hokage of the leaf village. And he was super cool. So I started using the username Yondaime everywhere on the net, which translates to 4th in Japanese. Till one day, I had the dreaded message informing me that the username Yondaime is taken, and it suggested Yondaime008 instead.
And I was like, hey look, you'd look like the next spy to 007 with a licence to kill, which is nice but also I was born on the 8th.
This website -which i forgot- actually did the creative part for me. Sorry to dissapoint you all who are reading this.

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    But, erm… yondaime (四代目) doesn't just mean ‘fourth’ in Japanese, does it? It means ‘fourth generation’. ‘Fourth’ in its own would be 第四目 daiyonme, wouldn't it? – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jan 22 '16 at 7:31
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    @JanusBahsJacquet you're absolutely right. This was an inherited misconception from badly translated mangas I guess. – yondaime008 Jan 22 '16 at 8:40

The entertainment/arts-related sites make using your favorite characters from the respective medium/genre an obvious choice, in contrast to some lame real-life name or a username used everywhere else on the internet anyway. But since I'm not much into written works I did not want to pick a character that I have to feel hypocritical for not knowing its base material inside out. Neither did I want to be the 5000th l0rd_vad3r or Gandalf87.

Being more into movies in general than science-fiction or fantasy per se, the obvious choice were original stand-alone science-fiction/fantasy movies that also work as mere cinematic experiences apart from the science-fiction/fantasy appeal alone. This is the reason why I first chose Sky Captain as an avatar, a great character from a very entertaining and unique retro sci-fi movie. I then later changed it to another great character from one of the best science-fiction movies of recent times and left it at that.


Long ago, I used to use Number 6 (or variations as it often wasn't available) as an alias on various places. Often, even after I gave that up, when the name I did choose for an e-mail address or whatever wasn't available, instead of tacking a 1 or a 01 on it, I'd throw 6 at the end.

A much more recent long-ago, I'd become a fan of Brian Stableford's "Star Pilot Grainger" series (also called the Hooded Swan series), and, even more than most books, I had trouble finding anyone who'd ever read it. So, aroundabout when Firefly came out, I started using StarPilotGrainger as an alias, specifically on a few Firefly sites and some more generic SF sites, in part with the hopes that somebody would recognize the series. It never happened.

Around the tail end of that I was seeking a new name for Xbox Live, and figured that Grainger was too obscure to want to bother explaining if anyone asked, but wanted to keep some of that vibe, I came up with the idea of putting together the two old names and just being StarPilotSix, like I'm some anonymous pilot that's backing up the main characters in any old space opera show or movie. And I stuck with that name through a few sci-fi related sites.

  • +1 for being pro-backup – DCOPTimDowd Jun 21 '17 at 17:17

It's a bit of nonsense poetry from the album "Who Can I Turn To Stereo" by experimental music project Nurse With Wound. For a while it was the band's only album on Spotify, and when I first listened to it, it was just about the weirdest thing I'd ever heard. The dadaist lyrics and song titles really stuck in my mind. The first track, "Tune Time Machine", includes the wonderful wordage:

A great, armed mass of darkness fish was approaching. I had the girl, the records, and the jeweled knife, but he had the time machine.

Later on the album, there's an instrumental track titled "Approaching Darkness Fish", followed immediately by the brief "Darkness Fish", making this cthonic creature an icon of sorts for the album in my mind.

There's no intended connection to science fiction (I chose the name while I was still more active on StackOverflow), despite the lyrics' references to time machine. It's just a weird blurb of absurdist humor from an obscure musician I like.

  • Now that's what I would call a cool name! – Neo Darwin Feb 1 '19 at 2:58

It's my actual name. I never knew why Neo although I suspect that it's related to the Matrix which came out precisely one year before my birth. My mom always loved that movie.


I am the one true king of the Seven Kingdoms.

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    There shall be no confusion on this point from now on. Thanks for sharing! – Praxis Dec 25 '15 at 4:11
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    Stannis is an usurper and wields a fake lightbringer. Aemon Targaryen knew that, it held no heat. You ser, don't deserve to sit on the iron throne. – yondaime008 Jan 21 '16 at 12:57
  • He is no more... – Victor Salazar Jun 10 '16 at 14:29
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    @Ankit Show heathen. – Azor Ahai -him- Jun 10 '16 at 15:16
  • I wonder if people dislike this name or your claim to be the "one true king of the Seven Kingdoms"... – Möoz Jun 16 '16 at 3:37

I'm a maniacal supervillain who hates that hedgehog!



Disturbed - Nu-Metal band formed in Illinois in 1996. Theirs was the first metal I heard and they, alongside Linkin Park, played big roles in developing my music tastes throughout my teens. I would not enjoy the music I do without them, and so they will always hold a special place in my heart.

Neo - Main Antagonist of The Matrix series, with The Matrix being my favourite Sci-Fi, possibly even my favourite movie, of all time. It played a big role in the development of my taste in movies, and probably fashion, if my trench coat and assortment of black clothing is anything to go by, and so also holds a special place in my heart.

The name formed one fateful day during my youth. I was trying to think up a new name for an online game, and I wanted a unique name free of numbers and those godawful "Xx...xX" things you see all over online games. Whilst pondering, my mother noticed my plight and suggested "Why don't you take two things you like and put them together, like your favourite band and movie?" And thus DisturbedNeo was born. It has been my main online handle ever since. Thanks, mum.

  • "Antagonist"? I'm not certain if you're confusing the term, or being clever about it. – FuzzyBoots Oct 17 '19 at 16:58

Back when I had to commute almost two hours to work it felt like I was riding with Zombies and I was becoming one. Thus the commuter became the Zommuter. Yeah, I'm sometimes zynical. Fortunately my wife drew me a more optimistic avatar.

Around minute 8:40 of Shaun of the Dead.
Fittingly enough, the music playing is Zombie Nation's Kernkraft 400.


This is a username I've used for many years, most actively on here and on Twitter, where I spout all kinds of inane drivel :-) The origin of my name is simply my surname and the squad number of my then-favourite player which I once got on the back of a football (soccer) shirt :-)


I've used Marakai for... it must be decades now. Heard it yoiks ago, when a tour guide gave it as the name of a huuuuuge saltwater croc up on the Catherine River in the Northern Territory. You can see why I thought it'd be a cool name. :D It's apparently a Melanesian/Micronesian word - not Aboriginal or of the people of Arnhem Land. Sounds good, though.

No, my profile age isn't real either. As Aragorn said "I'm older than I look."


It is just a nickname from my friends and family... there is no meaning or secret reference.


When I was a kid, I use to write video game guides, and I was pretty good. When I started playing World of Warcraft, I wanted a more universal name to use for everything, especially my contributions to Wowhead.

My main character was a Warlock, and I specialised in Gnome Engineering. My creative mind came up with GNome ENgineer warLOCK, but Gnemlock just sounded a lot better.

I pretty much use this name, everywhere, now.


My real name, Stefano, has Greek origins and means "crown".
Sekhemty is the name of the ancient Egyptian double crown; I always had an interest in history, ancient and medieval in particular, and I chose an username that reflected these two things.

I used this nickname on the Internet since, well, always.

It is often misspelled as Sekhempty, a somewhat annoying accusation of being a hollow person.


I came up with my Internet handle when I was 9. It's literally just "F1-crazy", as in, "crazy about Formula One", which I was (and thankfully, I still am). "F1Crazy" looked weird somehow, so I spelled it with a K instead. I quickly grew attached to the name and have been using it ever since. If you see an F1Krazy anywhere on the Internet, chances are that's me.


I took my username from one of the characters in the John Knowles novel, A Separate Peace. Loved the book when I read it, as a teenager, and admired the character Finny/Phineas. We both have the habit of passively listening to what is going on around us while focusing on something else, then replaying/recalling it later. Anyway, whenever I tried to sign up for something online using Phineas it was always taken, so I spelled it Phyneas and the usernames were generally open, so it stuck and I've been using it for almost everything (online) ever since.

  • Wow! I've been wondering it if was A Separate Peace reference, as it's one of my favourite novels!! :-) – Praxis Jul 13 '16 at 21:43

Fell in love with Black Library books ever since they started making em a long time ago... Fell even more in love with the works of Dan Abnett. His Inquisitor trilogies, Comics, Titanicus book, First and only series etc. is what makes me come back for more and more. One name stuck with me ever since I read it first time "Cherubael". So that is when I started using it as my nickname on the internetzz... As time passed by and my brain cells evaporated Cherubael became Cherubel.


My name is my initials (RDF) combined w/ my college nickname of "Fozz" (after Fozzie Bear, due to my combination of hirsute appearance and love of groan-inducing humor). If you see an RDFozz elsewhere - that's probably me - I've never failed to get the name on any site where I've asked for it, and it's always my first choice.

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