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[an-tuh-nuh-mey-zhuh] /ˌæn tə nəˈmeɪ ʒə/
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.
Origin of antonomasia
1580-90; < Latin < Greek, verbid of antonomázein to call by a new name, equivalent to ant- ant- + onomat- stem of ónoma name + -ia -ia
Related forms
[an-tuh-noh-mas-tik] /ˌæn tə noʊˈmæs tɪk/ (Show IPA),
antonomastical, adjective
antonomastically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for antonomasia
Historical Examples
  • antonomasia is, whych for ye proper name putteth some other word: As: the Archebyshop confuted the errour, for Cranmer.

British Dictionary definitions for antonomasia


noun (rhetoric)
the substitution of a title or epithet for a proper name, such as his highness
the use of a proper name for an idea: he is a Daniel come to judgment
Derived Forms
antonomastic (ˌæntənəˈmæstɪk) adjective
antonomastically, adverb
Word Origin
C16: via Latin from Greek, from antonomazein to name differently, from onoma name
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for antonomasia

use of an epithet for a proper name (or vice versa; e.g. His Holiness for the name of a pope), 1580s, from Latin, from Greek antonomasia, from antonomazein "to name instead, call by a new name," from anti "instead" (see anti-) + onomazein "to name," from onoma "name" (see name (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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