from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th 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.”
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. The substitution of an epithet or title in place of a proper noun
- n. Use of a proper name to suggest its most obvious quality or aspect.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- 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 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.
from The 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.
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)