Figure Name antonomasia
Source Bullinger (1898) ("antonomasia; or, name-change"); Vickers (1989) ("antonomasia (or pronominatio)")
Earliest Source
Synonyms name-change
Etymology Gr. an-to-no-ma'-si-a "a different name" form "to name instead" and this from anti "instead" and onomazein "to name" and onoma "a name"
Type None
Linguistic Domain

1. Change of proper name for appellative; or vice versa... This figure is so called because a proper name is put for a common appellative noun; or because, on the contrary, an appellation derived from some attribute is put for a proper name. As when a name of some office, dignity, profession, science, or trade, is used instead of the proper name of the person: e.g., when we speak of the Queen as Her Majesty, or of a nobleman as his lordship; or when a wise man is called a Solon, or a Solomon, etc. When we speak of David as "the Psalmist," or of Paul as "the Apostle," we use the figure Antonomasia. (Bullinger, 682)

2. Antonomasia (or pronominatio), substitution of name, either (1) of a descriptive phrase for a proper name; or (2) of a proper name for aquality associated with it. (Vickers 492)


1. Hos. 12:13 (14). -"Moses is called "a Prophet," because he was "par excellence" the prophet. See Deut. 34:10, 11, 12. (Bullinger, 683)

2. Cupid is 'that same wicked bastard of Venus....that blind rascally boy.' --Shakespeare, As You Like It, 4.1.211 (Vickers 492)

2. I am no great Nebuchadnezzar, sir; I have not much skill in grass. --Shakespeare, All's Well, 4.5.21 (Vickers 492)

Kind Of Substitution
Part Of
Related Figures
Confidence Unconfident
Last Editor Daniel Etigson
Confidence Unconfident
Editorial Notes
Reviewed No