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Anonymity is derived from the greek word ἀνωνυμία, anonymia, meaning "without a name" or "namelessness". in colloquial use, anonymity typically refers to the state of an individual's personal identity, or personally identifiable information, being publicly unknown. there are various situations in which a person might choose to withhold their identity. acts of charity have been performed anonymously when benefactors do not wish to be acknowledged.