Antonomasia

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In rhetoric, antonomasia is a substitution of any epithet or phrase for a proper name, such as "the little corporal" for Napoleon I. The reverse process is also sometimes called antonomasia. The word derives from the Greek ἀντονομασία, antonomasia, itself from the verb ἀντονομάζειν, antonomazein, meaning "to name differently".[1][2][3] Antonomasia is a particular form of metonymy.

The name used to substitute an abstract notion or personal trait is commonly called archetype or, more specifically, archetypal name.

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.

Examples[edit]

Opposite examples[edit]

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.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ ἀντονομασία,ἀντονομάζειν. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project.
  2. ^ "antonomasia". Online Etymology Dictionary. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

External links[edit]

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