What Does AKA Mean and How to Use it?
When you have an individual and unique name to give someone or something, AKA is the way to go - but in an informal context. Here's how!
Many of us have seen this bizarre term on a variety of platforms. AKA or aka, sometimes written as an initialism, A.K.A. Does it spell out aka? Not at all! For starters, this is an acronym for ‘Also Known As’. This abbreviation states another name for a subject that is typically a colloquial reference or a nickname.
But, why refer to someone with something as personal as a nickname? Or why the necessity to have an informal name that needs ‘AKA’ to address it? In this article, we’ll dive into some crucial questions behind this popular abbreviation, and hopefully understand the need for a moniker distinct from one’s birth name.
Why Do We Use AKA?
As the acronym’s expansion says, a being is also known as something other than their actual name. This name variation can be an attribution to a quality they possess, an achievement they earned, a role they play, an incident they closely align with, or even, at times, the family they come from. AKA can also used in the same way for the inanimate.
AKA acts as a reminder of either something positive about a person or something negative and possibly ugly. This alias depicts a separate identity a person earns, takes, or inherits. There’s no particular reason for using AKA apart from addressing someone or something, innovatively and in most cases, cleverly.
Many times, aliases help better identify a person than their birth name. In such situations, it’s not only a sophisticated way of addressing someone but an easy way to convey a reference. A person’s designation too counts as their alias — only if it is specific. For instance, ‘CEO of Google’ is an alias, but just ‘CEO’ cannot be.
AKA With or Without the Period?
Anyone who has used AKA or seen it somewhere will vouch for an alternative of the acronym – A.K.A. This is the time-consuming version of the abbreviation. Both AKA and A.K.A work the same – they both mean ‘Also Known As’.
Besides, on most online and offline platforms, AKA, or aka is the more regular way of using the acronym. You could use A.K.A. if the abbreviation is on display. But, while texting, typing captions, tweeting, and other textual activiy online, you can use AKA or the lowercase version of it.
Another reason why ‘Also Known As’ isn’t as popularly abbreviated as A.K.A. as AKA, is because of the variance in the expansion. AKA expands to Also Known As, whereas A.K.A. expands to Also. Known. As. which is a compartmentalizing way of using the phrase and its acronym. This is evidently not a common style of using phrases unless it’s rigidly an initialism — something which AKA isn’t.
How to Use AKA Online?
When you’re using AKA or its phrase, it is important to ensure it fits the description of the subject or subject matter. The description must be exclusive — it must define or portray the person or thing correctly and do justice to the context it’s used in. You cannot use AKA for generic depictions.
Essentially, it makes more sense to use AKA while picking up a niche aspect of someone or something and adding it to their founding name. AKA acts as a prefix to value that is unique to the subject (the person or thing it is attributing). So, before using AKA, first, make sure you have a valuable suffix to add to the person or thing’s name.
AKA is a rare slang that fits both textual and verbal conversations. However, there is one crucial condition while using AKA in person – always pronounce with individual letters — A-K-A. Never spell out the acronym (a–ka). Remember, this is an acronym, not a word!
Every AKA use case is informal. Never use AKA formally.
Here are a couple of times you can use AKA:
Referring to a significant designation
A productive use of AKA is while mentioning someone’s designation. However, to fulfill this use case, it’s important for the designation to be significant to that individual. You can use AKA to address general designations but that would pack less of the perfect and relevant ‘AKA’ punch — unless the subject fits both general and individual titles.
Here are some examples – ‘___ AKA the Managing Editor’ or ‘____ AKA the Best Writer on the team’ as opposed to ‘___ AKA the Writer’. If you want to narrow a person’s designation, back AKA with context – ‘___ AKA the Managing Editor of ____’.
AKA signifies an entitlement. So, while using AKA objectively it is important to use an entitling article – ‘The’ and not ‘an’ and ‘a’.
Highlighting a recent incident
This use case has a news angle to it. Very often, when big and notorious or inspiring incidents hit the headlines, the title of that news is attached to the subject’s name. But, you can use AKA with this angle on a personal scale with or without news value.
Incorporate AKA while emphasizing an event related to someone or something. Like, ‘Oh look who’s here. ___ the prince who can’t take a joke!’, ‘Woohooo!! ____ AKA Writer of the Week!!’, or ‘___ AKA the woman that led the entire team in a crumbling situation!’.
Addressing personal relationships
If someone or something is of subjective value that is not as impersonally acknowledged as the previous use cases, then too, you can use AKA. This is a subjective way of using the acronym and ideally stays between the first and second person. But can extend to third person references.
For example, ‘____ AKA my future wedded partner‘, ‘____ AKA the BEST mentor I ever had’, or ‘Okay, so you’re talking about ____ AKA the dude who dumped you?’. Anything works as long as it is personal and meaningful (for better or worse) to you or the other person.
Accentuating a quality
Everyone and everything has qualities that make up their existence. If someone or something is being addressed with a quality that is profound to them, then, it is an characteristic that prominently defines them.
So, if you find a quality attractive, outstanding, or simply in the face (in a good or not-so-good way) in something or someone, then too you can use AKA and bring that definition in a personal or unbiased context. Like, ‘___ AKA the guy with the big green eyes?‘ or ‘You mean ____ AKA the bestest thing to happen us??‘.
Just as a reminder
This is a neutral use-case when used positively. But if AKA succeeds a negative aspect, then, this can be a mean and insensitive use-case. Nevertheless, AKA can be applied to remind of someone or something’s achievements, recent news, history, etc. This use-case takes into account all the above use-cases as all of them can be reminders!
AKA is a manner of speaking of something or someone by focusing on noteworthy things other than their basic existence. This type of addressal arises from popularity, news, achievements, personal relationships, etc. When you add AKA to someone or something’s name, you’re making room for a valuable addition. This value can be in the form of any of the mentioned aspects. Without value, ‘AKA’ would be meaningless.
The phrase ‘Also Known As’ and its acronym (sometimes used as initialism) establishes a new identity to a subject that already has one. Frequently, the existing identity doesn’t pop as much the acquired identity. Once the subject is given an AKA, depending on the intensity with which it is given, received, and popularized, it is that challenging to erase an ‘AKA’ suffix – positive or negative.
Generally, when ‘AKA’ is given, it is earned by the subject or subject matter after an event that can be an achievement, an inheritance, fame, incident, etc. However, the situation is not that rigid when someone gives an AKA to themselves.
This use case may or may not be baseless. It can either surface as an alter-ego granted by someone to themselves or it can be an crowd-sourced alias that someone appreciates and therefore attaches it to their own names. ‘AKA’ can be given to people and things, but it can be acquired only by a person.
Although ‘AKA’ is a well-known acronym for a popular phrase, it cannot be used professionally. AKA is a casual way of referring to something/someone or oneself. It cannot and mustn’t be used while addressing formally. A formal alternative to AKA is ‘alias’. This is used rather widely in both professional than personal contexts.
AKA may be an entitled acronym that is only used for and by people and things that are on a pedestal — but, it can collaterally be very helpful slang to convey or register reference. Many times, we may not remember the name of the person, but we know their stance in various larger spheres and by that, can recognize them better or quicker.
Apart from this use case, AKA is an entitlement that is either earned or offered out of positive or negative tangible or intangible aspects. Nevertheless, AKA still counts as a fanciful way of referring to someone — because even if it does help, it is a tiny luxury of memory that lazes out our capability of remembering actual names!