American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The substitution of a title or epithet for a proper name, as in calling a sovereign "Your Majesty.”
- n. 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.”
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In rhetoric, the substitution of an epithet, or of the appellative of some office, dignity, profession, science, or trade, for the true name of a person, as when his majesty is used for a king, his lordship for a nobleman, or the philosopher for Aristotle; conversely, the use of a proper noun in the place of a common noun: as, a Cato for a man of severe gravity, or a Solomon for a wise man.
- n. rhetoric The substitution of an epithet or title in place of a proper noun
- n. rhetoric Use of a proper name to suggest its most obvious quality or aspect.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Rhet.) The use of some epithet or the name of some office, dignity, or the like, instead of the proper name of the person; as when
his majestyis used for a king, or when, instead of Aristotle, we say, the philosopher; or, conversely, the use of a proper name instead of an appellative, as when a wise man is called a Solomon, or an eminent orator a Cicero.
- Latin, from Greek antonomazein, to name instead : anti-, instead of; see anti- + onomazein, to name (from onoma, name. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“It is not for Mr. Buckley to admit to an inattentive memory and careless writing when the polysyllabic evasion of "antonomasia" is available.”
“He blithely absolves this libel as an example of "antonomasia" ( "the use of a proper name to express a general idea," OED), saying rather too airily that in this instance he meant a "Pat Boone-type" to imply any crooner of the well-scrubbed variety.”
“Alma: ¡Profe, a mi, por antonomasia me debe tocar el azul!”
“More or less by antonomasia, an erudite word that I met only many years after and learned the meaning of ...”
“Garibaldi was always or almost always victorious (in reality he fought brilliant guerrilla skirmishes which piety later turned into vast and tidy battles); he was the first to be called Il Duce, a pompous nineteenth-century opera libretto title, by antonomasia (Mussolini had been called Il Duce by his socialist followers before 1914 and took the title with him to the Fascist party).”
“These, by the extension of the generic term to specifically designate a new subdivision, are, by antonomasia, called gratuitously given graces”
“Nestorians call the Bishop of Mopsuestia, by antonomasia, the”
“By antonomasia, the word has come to designate also the good work itself, in so far as it deserves a reward from the person in whose service it was performed.”
“IN Florence, a rich and famous city of Italy, in the province called Tuscany, there dwelt two rich and principal gentlemen called Anselmo and Lothario, which two were so great friends, as they were named for excellency, and by antonomasia, by all those that knew them, the Two Friends.”
“What is generally called art, by antonomasia, collects intuitions that are wider and more complex than those which we generally experience, but these intuitions are always of sensations and impressions.”
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From the GNU Webster's 1913:
Antonomasia: "n. The use of some epithet or the name of some office, dignity, or the like, instead of the proper name of the person; as when his majesty is...
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