notes on phrases such as ‘nom de crinoline’ and ‘nom de freak’

On the pattern of phrases such as 1) nom de guerre, 2) nom de théâtre and 3) nom de plume, nom de — is used, often humorously, to form phrases denoting a pseudonym, an alternative name.

1) First recorded in 1652, nom de guerre is a borrowing from French nom de guerre, literally name of war; it denotes a name assumed by, or assigned to, a person engaged in an enterprise (especially war, courtship, publication or espionage), frequently in order to conceal his or her true identity.

2) First recorded in 1838, nom de théâtre denotes an assumed name under which a person acts or performs on stage, frequently in order to conceal his or her true identity.

3) First recorded in 1841, nom de plume denotes an assumed name under which a person writes or publishes, frequently in order to conceal his or her true identity.

These are some of the phrases formed with nom de — that I have found, in alphabetical order:

nom de bourse: From Reason For Oil Shortage?, published in the Council Bluffs Nonpareil (Council Bluffs, Iowa) of Wednesday 30th January 1974:

We may have discovered the reason for the oil shortage. Our discovery supports one of the popular beliefs, but we’ll let you judge the validity of both.
Our source is an article authored by one “Adam Smith” in the current issue of Newsweek. The editors explain this name is, to use their term, a “nom de bourse”. A point that bears remembering is that this writer is anonymous.

nom de burlesque: From the caption to the following photograph, published in The Dallas Morning News (Dallas, Texas) of Tuesday 10th August 1937—the U.S. burlesque entertainer Gypsy Rose Lee (Rose Louise Hovick – 1911-1970) was famous for her striptease act:

GYPSY ROSE LEE.—The world’s most famous strip teaser makes her film debut in “You Can’t Have Everything” with all her clothes on. The Hays office * also forced her to drop her nom de burlesque, Gypsy Rose Lee, and use another name. She chose her right name, Louise Hovick.

* From 1922 to 1945, William Harrison Hays (1879-1954) was the Chairman of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA); in 1930, the MPPDA adopted the Motion Picture Production Code, also known as the Hays Code, i.e., a set of moral guidelines applied to U.S. motion pictures.

nom de campaign: From an article about a political scandal in Brazil, published in The Miami Herald (Miami, Florida) of Thursday 22nd May 1997—the following is about the Brazilian politician José Edmar Santiago de Melo (born 1950), known as Ronivon Santiago:

The troubles began with a story in the newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo on May 13 that quotes the Acre State congressman Ronivon Santiago on what was described as a secret tape-recording, as he boasted that the Amazonian states of Acre and Amazonas had bought his vote, as well as those of four other congressmembers. After that, there were new revelations each day.
Santiago, who years ago adopted his nom-de-campaign from the rock star Roni Von, was speaking to a friend who at first was known only as Mr. X but was later identified as Narciso Mendes, a former congressman.

nom de combat: From the St. Joseph Daily Press (St. Joseph, Michigan) of Wednesday 9th December 1914:

John Altman, a pseudo pugilist, who terrifies his opponents by the nom-de-combat of “Wildcat,” is on trial in the circuit court today charged with larceny from a farm house in Bainbridge.

nom de course: From the horse-racing section of The Boston Herald (Boston, Massachusetts) of Thursday 21st May 1936:

Lost by claim, but immediately repurchased last August at Saratoga, after she had won the first of five straight races, Little Miracle thereby scored her second win in four starts this year. As the 2-1 public choice she returned $6.20 to backers, while earning $2805 for Elizabeth Arden, her breeder, whose nom de course is Mr. Nightingale.

nom de crime: From Mary Martin Quizzes Kerry Drake’s Artist About Villain ‘Yoyo’ Martin, published in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin (Honolulu, Hawaii) of Wednesday 1st March 1950:

Mary Martin, “First Lady of Musical Comedy,” pointed out while posing for a backstage portrait recently, that Broadway either exerts a definite influence on the nation’s comic pages—or else the long arm of coincidence sometimes wields a cartoonist’s pencil.
Tilting her famous curly head to inspect the likeness Alfred Andriola, illustrator of the syndicated detective strip, “Kerry Drake,” was sketching, the vivacious star of “South Pacific” posed a question which had been on her mind for several months:
“This current menace in your strip, ‘Yoyo’ Martin, seems to have the same kinky hairdo and the same last name! Don’t tell me we’re related?”
Artist Andriola gulped, visions of libel suits danced before his eyes and he hastily explained that the surname of the yoyo-spinning villain was actually a nom-de-crime. He was born Martini. He only sang to the police. He was allergic to frequent shampoos. He was purely a creature of the imagination.

nom de crinoline: From the column Paper Balk Talk, published in The New York Times (New York City, New York) of Sunday 19th October 1975—Morris Hershman (born 1926) is a U.S. author of mystery, gothic and western novels:

A third 100-per-cent male writer of gothics has stood up to be counted. He’s Morris Hershman, a fortyish native New Yorker, who in his upper West Side apartment has turned out more than 30 romances under the nom de crinoline of Evelyn Bond. […] Under his own name, Hershman has also written hard-boiled mysteries […]. He likes his role as Evelyn Bond best, for her editors allow him a free hand in developing individual characters to dwell in her single-lighted mansions on lonely moors.

nom de cuisine: From the column Doing the Town, by Bob Freund, published in the Fort Lauderdale News and Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) of Saturday 4th May 1963:

Chalet East, the former Pal’s on Sunrise Blvd., has been brightened up considerably for its debut under the new nom-de-cuisine. The intimate dimness in the lighting is no more, but the new look has a lightness which contributes to a completely new atmosphere in the popular room.

nom de disc:—cf. ‘nom de disc’ : meaning and origin.

nom de freak: From Mr. America, by Maureen Orth, published in Newsweek (New York City, New York) of Monday 28th May 1973—Alice Cooper (Vincent Damon Furnier – born 1948) is a U.S. singer, songwriter and actor:

Now nearing the end of a marathon three-month, 58-city tour—which he estimates will cost over $1 million to produce and gross $4 million to $6 million—25-year-old Alice Cooper (he chose the nom de freak Alice because “it’s a fine old American name”) prides himself on being rock music’s ultimate spectacle of “creative decadence.” His fantastic, grotesque act, an astonishing blend of rock concert and Grand Guignol, features whips, pet boa constrictor, life-size mannequins who spurt blood and a finale with Alice’s head under a razor-sharp guillotine.

nom de hack: From The Guardian (London and Manchester, England) of Monday 29th October 2001—Kimble is the surname of the doctor who is wrongfully convicted of his wife’s murder in the U.S. television series The Fugitive (1963-67), and in The Fugitive (1993), a U.S. cinema film based on the television series:

Kiel-born, Munich-resident Schmitz […] began his computer scamming career in his teens, graduating from pirating video games to selling under the counter software that enabled computer users to obtain free phone time. Soon he was breaking into secure systems and websites, leaving a skull and crossbones logo and his Fugitive-inspired nom-de-hack, Kimble.

nom de hip-hop: From the review of Is Tiny Dancer Really Elton’s Little John?: Music’s Most Enduring Mysteries, Myths, and Rumors Revealed (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2006), by Gavin Edwards—review published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) of Friday 4th August 2006:

DMX, nee Earl Simmons, picked up his nom de hip-hop from an Oberheim DMX drum machine.

nom de mat: From the New Britain Herald (New Britain, Connecticut) of Wednesday 3rd May 1916:

If there was a wrestling marvel, masked or otherwise, in Madison Square Garden last night it was not Mort Henderson. It will be remembered that Mort campaigned hereabouts considerably under the euphonious and mysterious nom de mat of the “Mask Marvel.” Henderson lost the entire monnaker last night. “Strangler” Lewis removed the “marvel” part of it after Mort had removed the mask previous to opening hostilities with the “Strangler.”

nom de net: From Surfing Through the Greek Isles, by J. D. Lasica, published in The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, Louisiana) of Sunday 7th December 1997:

Crete, Greece—Xerxes had led us astray.
Xerxes, the nom de Net of a wired wayfarer on the Internet, had advised my wife and me by e-mail to bypass the resorts on Crete’s northern coast and head straight for the island’s hilly heartland.

nom de nuit: From ‘Big Boy, You’re Under Arrest’, by Tom Emch, published in the San Francisco Examiner (San Francisco, California) of Sunday 25th July 1976—the following is about a policewoman decoy posing as a prostitute:

The decoy says she uses the name Gwendolyn as a sort of nom de nuit. “They usually ask my name and I say, ‘Gwen.’” To throw the trick off the trail she’ll sometimes ask them: “Say, I hope you’re not a police officer?”

nom de plumage: From the review of The Moon’s Our Home (New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1936), by the U.S. author Faith Baldwin (1893-1978)—review by Raymond C. Krank, published in The Brooklyn Citizen (Brooklyn, New York) of Friday 31st January 1936:

In her somewhat dizzy story, “The Moon’s Our Home,” Miss Baldwin goes giddy in a great big way, and I will not hate her for this. The humorous female has seen fit to kid the grass-skirt off a certain insistently young romancer who explores strange places and swims classic waters—and who shall therefore be known only as Richard Halibut, although Miss Baldwin prefers to call him Anthony Amberton.
He’s beautifully done, this character—much better even than Cherry Chester, who is the heroine and supposedly the central figure of the frothy comedy with the extremely apt title. Handsome, curly-haired, tall, dark and conceited, this magnificent explorer-writer parades under the romantic nom-de-plumage of Anthony Amberton; but in reality, he is plain Sammy Smith, scion to the redoubtable Smith of bathroom equipment fame.

nom de ring: From Esquire (New York City, New York) of February 1973:

Gorgeous George: nom de ring of George Wagner, professional wrestler of the Fifties, whose long golden locks and habit of spraying perfume on his opponents were big box office in the pre-unisex days.

nom de screen: From the Elmira Star-Gazette (Elmira, New York) of Monday 12th September 1921—Roscoe Conkling Arbuckle (1887-1933) was a U.S. film actor, director and screenwriter:

New York, Sept. 12.—For many years the face and form of Roscoe Arbuckle have been before millions of moving picture patrons in America and Europe.
The wild enthusiasm with which he was greeted and feted in England and France last year attested the success of his efforts as a comedian.
His nom-de-screen of Fatty contains in a word much of the source of his success. For the rotundity of his frame and the facility with which he could twitch his robust features into ludicrous expressions combined with his aptness at affected awkwardness enabled him to draw laughs.

nom de tube:

– With reference to television: From The Vancouver Sun (Vancouver, British Columbia) of Friday 29th June 1979:

Adman and boating freak Fin Anthony debuts July 5 as a sports fishing authority on KVOS-TV. His nom-de-tube will be (grit your teeth) Rusty Hooks.

– With reference to YouTube: From Tangled web: Is she for real?, by David Sarno, published in the Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California) of Saturday 5th May 2007:

In late March, a striking young blondish woman going by the nom-de-Tube of “GreenTeaGirlie” posted a 10-second video on YouTube.

nom de TV: From John Lester’s radio and television column, published in The Gazette and Daily (York, Pennsylvania) of Monday 17th October 1955:

“The People’s Choice,” starring Jackie Cooper, bowed on NBC-TV last Thursday night, 8:30 to 9, NYT, with Cooper playing “Sock” Miller, a government naturalist.
His girl-friend is played by cute Pat Breslin, whose nom-de-TV is “Mandy” Peoples, and his constant companion is a talking dog named “Cleo.”

nom de vente: From a glossary of auction terms, published in The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) of Sunday 1st July 1973:

“NOM-DE-VENTE” Bidder who lets auctioneer know that he does not want to be identified, sometimes by prearranged signals, such as touching nose or “as long as I’m sitting, I’m continuing bidding.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.