Anonymous Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It

This guide includes everything about the meaning of anonymous. Through synonyms, examples, origins, and more, you’ll know all there is to know.

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Words can evolve and change over time. It’s wise to look at the definitions of words that you already know to see if they really mean what you think they mean. You might also learn new meanings or the word’s roots. Anonymous is a familiar word, but it might be a word that means more than you know.

What Is the Meaning of Anonymous?

Anonymous is an adjective. The word anonymous (a-non-y-mous) is defined as a description of someone or something that is unknown, unidentifiable, or unrevealed. It can also be used to describe an action done by someone who is unknown.

The word anonymous (adj) is pronounced uh – non – uh – muhs

What Is the Origin of Anonymous?

The word anonymous in its current use and meaning dates back to the late 16th century with Indo-European roots. The –ous suffix is an English addition, and it means “full of.” The other part of the word comes from the Late Latin anonymus

The Late Latin anōnymus means false or fictitious name, and it comes from the Greek anṓnymos, which meant nameless. 

The Greek anṓnymos is formed from two Greek words. The Greek anōnumos is made from the word parts an– that means “without” and the Greek onyma or onoma that means “name.” This means the word could translate to mean “without name.”

It’s always interesting when a word’s history reveals that it has always had relatively the same meaning. The pronunciation may change, but the understanding of the word remains the same. A word we use today is roughly the same as a word spoken in Ancient Greece. How cool!

How Do We Use Anonymous?

Anonymous is commonly used to describe nameless acts such as an anonymous tip, an anonymous gift, or an anonymous phone call. Anonymous can describe a person with no known name.

It is also used to describe commonplace or indistinguishable objects that have no unusual characteristics that can be used to describe them such as an anonymous face or an ordinary brick building. Individual characteristics that fail to give a person a unique characterization can make it difficult to recall that person.

Anonymous still means when we don’t know the identity of someone. For example, the originator of Bitcoin is anonymous, so there’s no “Tom Brady of crypto.” This is an interesting fact of cryptocurrencies. 

Sometimes not knowing the identity of someone can feel threatening. In response to that feeling, for example, China has tightened internet censorship to ban anonymous users. This is regulated through consistent government monitoring and regular government inspections of data from internet service providers. Other countries, like Cambodia, have looked into a similar technique.

In other parts of the world, internet censorship occurs through the efforts of a pseudonymous group of internet culture cops that police the content of fellow users to have them banned or punished. It’s odd that the actions of anonymous users can result in the denial of service to others just by doing a share of the daily work of content policing.

What Is the Group Anonymous?

In recent years, anonymous has also become synonymous with the decentralized hacker group or international collective of activists. Anonymous are hacktivists that use a variety of cyberattacks against governments and government agencies by attacking government websites as what the group views as a civil service.

The group has also attacked corporations and organizations like PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, and even the Church of Scientology. The Anonymous Group has anonymous members, of course. The hacks by this group are protests. In addition to protests, the group has shown support for the Occupy movement and WikiLeaks. 

The members have not all been able to maintain their anonymity. Dozens have been arrested in several countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Many herald the group as digital Robin Hoods, and Anonymous was named one of Time’s “100 Most Influential People” in 2012. 

What Are Synonyms of Anonymous?

Synonyms are the easiest way to deliver the same meaning at various points without using the same word repeatedly. Here are some synonyms for the word anonymous:

  • Nameless
  • Undisclosed
  • Unattested
  • Incognito
  • Unidentified
  • Unnamed
  • Unacknowledged
  • Unavowed
  • Pseudo
  • Pseudonymous
  • Unsigned
  • Secret
  • Undesignated

What Are Antonyms of Anonymous?

Antonyms are a great tool for when you need to express the opposite meaning of a word. Here are a few antonyms for the word anonymous:

  • Known
  • Identified
  • Named

Examples of Using Anonymous

Examples help us to better understand how to use words in context. Here are a few examples of using anonymous in a sentence:

  • She chose to remain anonymous.
  • We lived on a small street full of little brown anonymous houses.
  • The donation came from an anonymous benefactor.
  • I had a successful recovery thanks to Alcoholics Anonymous.
  • Anonymous took credit for the website’s crash.
  • An anonymous donor helped me pay for my mother’s funeral.

The Last Word

In conclusion, words like anonymous can have a variety of meanings. It’s always important to familiarize yourself with meanings, uses, and new colloquial uses of words. With the word anonymous, it’s important to educate yourself on the activities of the group using the term as their name. Hopefully now, the word anonymous means more than it did before.


  1. Anonymous Definition & Meaning | 
  2. Fears Cambodia is Rolling Out China-style ‘Great Firewall’ to Curb Online Freedom | 
  3. The Hacker Group Anonymous Returns | The Atlantic