Antonomasia

In rhetoric, antonomasia is a kind of metonymy in which an epithet or phrase takes the place of a proper name, such as "the little corporal" for Napoleon I; or, conversely, the use of a proper name as an archetypal name, to express a generic idea.

A frequent instance of antonomasia in the Late Middle Ages and early Renaissance was the use of the term "the Philosopher" to refer to Aristotle. A more recent example of the other form of antonomasia (usage of archetypes) was the use of "Solons" for "the legislators" in 1930s journalism, after the semi-legendary Solon, lawgiver of Athens.

Stylistically, such epithets may be used for elegant variation to reduce repetition of names in phrases.

The word comes from the Greek ἀντονομασία, antonomasia, itself from the verb ἀντονομάζειν, antonomazein 'to name differently'.[1][2][3]

Opposite examplesEdit

See "archetypal name" for examples of the opposite kind of antonomasia.

One common example in French is the word for fox: the Latin-derived French: goupil was replaced by French: renard, from Renart, the fox hero of the Roman de Renart; originally German Reinhard.

ExamplesEdit

PersonsEdit

Fictional charactersEdit

Works of artEdit

PlacesEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ ἀντονομασία,ἀντονομάζειν. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project.
  2. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, s.v.
  3. ^ a b c d   One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Antonomasia". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 151.
  4. ^ Zezima, Katie (27 November 2003). "A Job Transformed: Paper-Pusher to Junkyard Dog". The New York Times.
  5. ^ "A major fight looms for Beacon Hill's 'Prince of Darkness' - the Boston Globe".

External linksEdit

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Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Antonomasia" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.