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1. The substitution of a title or epithet for a proper name, as in calling a sovereign "Your Majesty."
2. The substitution of a personal name for a common noun to designate a member of a group or class, as in calling a traitor a "Benedict Arnold."

[Latin, from Greek antonomazein, to name instead : anti-, instead of; see anti- + onomazein, to name (from onoma, name; see nō̆-men- in Indo-European roots).]

an′to·no·mas′tic (-măs′tĭk) adj.
an′to·no·mas′ti·cal·ly adv.


1. (Rhetoric) the substitution of a title or epithet for a proper name, such as his highness
2. (Rhetoric) 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]
antonomastic adj
ˌantonoˈmastically adv


(ˌæn tə nəˈmeɪ ʒə)

1. the substitution of an epithet or appellative for an individual's name, as his lordship.
2. the use of the name of a person or character noted for a particular characteristic, as Casanova, to designate a person or class having the same characteristic.
[1580–90; < Latin < Greek, derivative of antonomázein to call by a new name]
an`to•no•mas′tic (-ˈmæs tɪk) adj.
an`to•no•mas′ti•cal•ly, adv.


1. the use of an epithet or appellative for an individual’s name, as his excellency.
2. the use of a proper name to express a general idea or to designate others sharing a particular characteristic, as a Rockefeïler. — antonomastic, adj.
See also: Names


The use of a person’s title instead of his or her name, or the use of a name to stand for an idea.


[ˌæntənəˈmeɪzɪə] n (frm) → antonomasia
References in periodicals archive ?
a city or a province, is antonomastically called the king.
Once the extermination of the Jews had been shown to be a unique event, scholars started to use symbolic names: they adopted antonomastically the toponym of one of the places that was most emblematic of the extermination (Auschwitz), or they widened the semantic field of old words by giving them new connotations (shoah, catastrophe, holocaust).