Elon Musk Is Now Going by 'Elona Musk' on Twitter. Here's Why

It involves the billionaire challenging Vladimir Putin to "single combat."

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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Gael Cooper
2 min read

Call him Elona. 

Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

If you stumble across a tweet from Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, you might notice the billionaire's Twitter name has changed.  The prolific tweeter now lists himself as "Elona" Musk, and there's a reason. It will probably surprise no one it's a very tangled story. 

On Monday, Musk challenged Russian President Vladimir Putin to "single combat" over the war in Ukraine.

"I hereby challenge (Vladimir Putin) to single combat," Musk wrote in his tweet. "Stakes are (Ukraine)."

Putin didn't respond publicly. But on Tuesday, Musk shared a post on the messaging app Telegram from Ramzan Kadyrov, the pro-Putin head of the Chechen Republic. In the post, Kadyrov taunts Musk by telling him to "pump up those muscles in order to change from the gentle (effeminate) Elona into the brutal Elon you need to be." 

He goes on to tell Musk to train his muscles at various Russian or Chechen locations.

After that post, Musk changed his display name on Twitter from "Elon Musk" to "Elona Musk." Twitter users can change their display name easily -- it's the name that shows up in bold above a person's Twitter user name. Musk left his user name as @elonmusk -- probably a smart decision, because if he changed that, someone else could take the "elonmusk" user name and use it for any number of reasons.

Musk also responded to Kadyrov with a tweet signed "Elona."

"Thank you for the offer, but such excellent training would give me too much of an advantage," Musk tweeted. "If (Putin) is afraid to fight, I will agree to use only my left hand and I am not even left-handed. Elona"

Musk's actual first name means "oak tree" in Hebrew, according to baby-name site Nameberry. It's also the name of a leader of human colonists on Mars in a 1953 book by German-turned-American scientist Wernher von Braun, who once led the Nazi's rocket program. Yes, the coincidence of Elon leading people on Mars, and modern Elon Musk working on Mars-related missions, has been noticed.

Two of Musk's children also have names that have made the news. In 2020, Musk and musician Grimes had a baby boy that they named "X Æ A-12." (Here's how to pronounce it.) And in December 2021, Grimes and Musk had a daughter, naming her Exa Dark Sideræl Musk.