[ an-tuh-nuh-mey-zhuh ]

  1. Rhetoric. the identification of a person by an epithet or appellative that is not the person's name, as his lordship.

  2. 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 ónomaname + -ia-ia

Other words from antonomasia

  • an·to·no·mas·tic [an-tuh-noh-mas-tik], /ˌæn tə noʊˈmæs tɪk/, an·to·no·mas·ti·cal, adjective
  • an·to·no·mas·ti·cal·ly, adverb

Words Nearby antonomasia Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use antonomasia in a sentence

  • antonomasia is, whych for ye proper name putteth some other word: As: the Archebyshop confuted the errour, for Cranmer.

British Dictionary definitions for 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

Origin of antonomasia

C16: via Latin from Greek, from antonomazein to name differently, from onoma name

Derived forms of antonomasia

  • antonomastic (ˌæntənəˈmæstɪk), adjective
  • antonomastically, adverb

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