AskDefine | Define antonomasia

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. The substitution of an epithet or title in place of a proper noun


  • Croatian: antonomazija


Extensive Definition

In rhetoric, antonomasia is a substitution of any epithet or phrase for a proper name, such as "the little corporal" for Napoleon I. The reverse process is also sometimes called antonomasia. The word derives from the Greek word antonomazein meaning "to name differently". Antonomasia is a particular form of metonymy.
The name used to substitute an abstract notion or or personal trait is commonly called archetype or, more specifically, archetypal name.
A frequent instance of antonomasia in the Late Middle Ages and early Renaissance was the use of the term, "the Philosopher," to refer to Aristotle. A more recent example of the other form of antonomasia (usage of archetypes) was the use of "Solons" for "the legislators" in 1930s journalism, after the semi-legendary Solon, lawgiver of Athens.


See "archetypal name" for examples of the opposite kind of antonomasia.

See also


antonomasia in German: Antonomasie
antonomasia in Spanish: Expresión antonomástica
antonomasia in Esperanto: Antonomazio
antonomasia in French: Antonomase
antonomasia in Galician: Antonomasia
antonomasia in Italian: Antonomasia
antonomasia in Lithuanian: Antonomazija
antonomasia in Dutch: Antonomasie
antonomasia in Japanese: 換称
antonomasia in Portuguese: Antonomásia
antonomasia in Russian: Антономасия
antonomasia in Slovak: Antonomázia
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