Rhetoric. the identification of a person by an epithet or appellative that is not the person's name, as his lordship.
the use of the name of a person who was distinguished by a particular characteristic, as Don Juan or Annie Oakley, to designate a person or group of persons having the same characteristic.

1580–90; < Latin < Greek, verbid of antonomázein to call by a new name, equivalent to ant- ant- + onomat- stem of ónoma name + -ia -ia

antonomastic [an-tuh-noh-mas-tik] , antonomastical, adjective
antonomastically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
antonomasia (ˌæntənəˈmeɪzɪə)
1.  the substitution of a title or epithet for a proper name, such as his highness
2.  the use of a proper name for an idea: he is a Daniel come to judgment
[C16: via Latin from Greek, from antonomazein to name differently, from onoma name]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

use of an epithet for a proper name (or vice versa), 1580s, from L., from Gk. antonomasia, from antonomazein "to name instead," from anti "instead" + onomazein "to name," from onoma "name" (see name).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


a figure of speech in which some defining word or phrase is substituted for a person's proper name (for example, "the Bard of Avon" for William Shakespeare). In fiction, the practice of giving to a character a proper name that defines or suggests a leading quality of that character (such as Squire Allworthy, Doctor Sawbones) is also called antonomasia. The word is from the Greek antonomasia, a derivative of antonomazein, "to call by a new name."

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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