Definition of antonomasia
: the use of a proper name to designate a member of a class (as a Solomon for a wise ruler); also : the use of an epithet or title in place of a proper name (as the Bard for Shakespeare)
Did You Know?
What's in a name? When it comes to "antonomasia," quite a bit. English speakers picked up that appellative term from Latin, but it traces back to Greek, descending from the verb antonomazein, meaning "to call by a new name," which itself developed from the Greek noun onoma, meaning "name." You may already be familiar with some other English "onoma" descendants, such as "onomatopoeia" (the naming of something in imitation of the sound associated with it), "polyonymous" (having multiple names), and "toponymy" (the place-names of a region). "Antonomasia" has been naming names in English since the mid-16th century.
Origin of antonomasia
Latin, use of an epithet for a proper name, from Greek, from antonomazein to call by a new name, from anti- + onomazein to name, from onoma name — more at name
First Known Use: circa 1550
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