Is there a word or concise phrase for "alternative name for something" which doesn't have the associated negative connotation that pseudonym and alias have? It has to be short so as to fit within a web link.

The negative connotation which I feel is invoked with pseudonym and alias is something along the lines of "hiding behind a false identity." Alias is probably the less negative of the two but if there is a better word or concise phrase altogether I would much prefer to use that. Thanks for your help.

Some contextual info as requested
On the website teachers are able to create alternative names for the subject they teach. For example, the default selection is Mathematics but they may want to create an alternative name of Maths, RS instead of Religious Studies and so forth.

  • Is this term intended to designate people, objects, abstract entities, or all of these? Perhaps you could supply a little more contextual detail about what you're hoping to identify in this way.
    – Erik Kowal
    Nov 25, 2014 at 12:16
  • 2
    Nickname. AKA or aka (Also known as.)
    – Joe Dark
    Nov 25, 2014 at 12:22
  • @ErikKowal It is for subject titles. I have added some contextual information to the question.
    – joe92
    Nov 25, 2014 at 12:26
  • @joe92, Anything wrong with "short name" or, as, Joe Dark suggests, "nickname", then?
    – Dan Bron
    Nov 25, 2014 at 12:30
  • These days, the practice is common in all spheres. You could call it the ID.
    – Kris
    Nov 25, 2014 at 12:58

4 Answers 4


You might try one of:

  • sobriquet
  • moniker
  • appellation

Or another synonym (though I'd avoid epithet, because it's accumulated negative connotations).


On the basis of your additional information, I suggest these possibilities:

  • Other name

  • Abbr. name [for 'Abbreviated name']

  • Short name

  • Also known as

  • Also called


I use the term "short code" (or "shortcode") for this purpose. It's typically a shorter, human-friendly code which stands for a longer name or description.

The term is used with a similar meaning for phone and texting, as well as in web programming.


What about just nickname? Or, for your example of "RS instead of Religious Studies", I would say abbreviation.

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