[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. antoninus,
  2. antoninus pius,
  3. antonioni,
  4. antonioni, michelangelo,
  5. antonius,
  6. antony,
  7. antony and cleopatra,
  8. antony, mark,
  9. antonym,
  10. antonymous

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 formsan·to·no·mas·tic [an-tuh-noh-mas-tik] /ˌæn tə noʊˈmæs tɪk/, an·to·no·mas·ti·cal, adjectivean·to·no·mas·ti·cal·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for antonomasia

  • 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) /

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 ideahe is a Daniel come to judgment
Derived Formsantonomastic (ˌæntənəˈmæstɪk), adjectiveantonomastically, adverb

Word Origin for antonomasia

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

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