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Figure of Speech

Antonomasia Examples: Antonomasia for Students and Children

From our ancestors come our names, but from our virtues come ‘antonomasia’! Antonomasia is that figure of speech that employs a suitable epithet or appellative to cite a person or thing rather than the original name. Confused? Don’t be! To put it in simple terms, antonomasia is a rhetoric way of giving an appropriate name or title to someone or something. The epithet or appellative is usually inspired by a specific character, a particular physical trait, or some outstanding feats or deeds of that person or thing and are not just any random names. For instance, when we hear the name of ‘Mahatma Gandhi’, the first thing that strikes our mind is ‘Father of The Nation’. This is exactly what antonomasia means. This figure of speech is usually employed to give a general idea about that person or thing. In India, normally when a child wins a cup in some competition, the proud parents usually say, “Here is my Sher (Lion) with the cup.” In reality, epithets like this make the person feel proud and add certain amount of grandeur to their personal appeal. Explore more about this figure of speech by glancing through these rattling examples of antonomasia.

Antonomasia Examples

  • You must pray to heaven’s guardian for relief.
  • Excuse me Tarzan, could you please come down from that tree.
  • “When I eventually met Mr. Right I had no idea that his first name was Always.” – by Rita Rudner
  • The answer for this question can be given only by Mr. Know-it-all.
  • “Jerry: The guy who runs the place is a little temperamental, especially about the ordering procedure. He’s secretly referred to as the Soup Nazi.
    Elaine: Why? What happens if you don’t order right?
    Jerry: He yells and you don’t get your soup.” – by Seinfeld
  • He proved a Judas to the cause.
  • Easy, you coward!
  • Nice drive, tiger!
  • “…Have you come in peace, Zimri, you murderer of your master?” – (2 Kings 9:31b)
  • “The land will be blessed and ‘showers of blessing’ will fall.” – a line from the Bible
  • “If the waiter has a mortal enemy, it is the Primper. I hate the Primper. HATE THE PRIMPER! If there’s a horrifying sound a waiter never wants to hear, it’s the THUMP of a purse on the counter. Then the digging sound of the Primper’s claws trying to find makeup, hairbrushes, and perfume.” – (Laurie Notaro, The Idiot Girls’ Action-Adventure Club, 2002)
  • Harry is the Casanova of my life
  • He was a horse in the running competition
  • “I told you we could count on Mr. Old-Time Rock and Roll!” – Murray referring to Arthur in Velvet Goldmine
  • Do not act like Mr. Bean.
  • There is much of Cicero in this letter.
  • John was the blaster master of the final match of his school.
  • She was a white witch in the play.
  • Cambridge is England’s Silicon Valley.
  • “The fatal Cleopatra for which he lost the world and was content to lose it.” – by William Shakespeare
  • “O, let us pay the time but needful woe,
    … This England never did, nor never shall,
    Lie at the proud foot of a conqueror …” – by William Shakespeare

Popular Antonomasia

  • Tarzan – wild
  • Solomon – a wise man
  • Casanova – a philanderer
  • The Bard of Avon – William Shakespeare
  • Beowulf – a myth
  • The Dark Knight – Batman
  • The Führer – Adolf Hitler
  • Judas – Betrayer
  • The Philosopher – Aristotle
  • The Iron Duke – Duke of Wellington
  • Schwarzenegger – Arnie, the Austrian Oak, The Governator – tough
  • Cicero – orator
  • Gandhi – non-violence
  • La Divina – Maria Callas
  • Silicon Valley – where all the geeks go, high-tech hub
  • Beckham – footballer
  • The Iron Lady – Margaret Thatcher
  • The King of Pop – Michael Jackson
  • An Einstein – an intelligent person
  • “He’s such a Nimrod!” – the fearless hunter’s name from Bugs Bunny cartoon
  • The Little Corporal – Napoleon I
  • A traitor – Benedict Arnold
  • Your Majesty – King or a Judge in the court
  • The Blaster Master – Sachin Tendulkar
  • Slowhand – Eric Clapton
  • Macedonia’s Madman – Alexander the Great
  • The Don – Sir Donald Bradman
  • Solomon – wise ruler
  • Auld Reekie – Edinburgh
  • The Comeback Kid – Bill Clinton
  • Uncle Lenin – Vladimir Lenin
  • The Fab Four – The Beatles
  • The Three Musketeers – Athos, Porthos, and Aramis
  • Iron Man of India – SardarVallabhbhai Patel
  • Son of Peleus – Achilles
  • The King – Elvis Presley
  • Minnesota – Land of Lakes
  • A Scrooge – a miser
  • Lordship – a nobleman
  • The Iron Chancellor – Otto von Bismark
  • The Scottish Play – Macbeth
  • La Stupenda – Joan Sutherland
  • Rembrandt – an artist.
  • Sultan of Swat – Baby Ruth
  • Cato – a man of severe gravity
  • His Lordship – a nobleman

Antonomasia is also known as nominatio, pronominatio and prosonomasia and is at times spelt as ‘antinomasia’. The word ‘antonomasia’ comes from the Greek word ‘antonomazein’, which means to ‘name differently’ or ‘instead of’. Antonomasia is all about substitution of names for a person with a praiseworthy appellation like brave, coward, furious, clever, and casanova and so on. Even in our daily dialogues, we tend to use antonomasia for complimenting or even abusing someone. Metaphor might look similar to antonomasia, but it is clearly not. There is no comparison made in this figure of speech; instead, a suitable name is placed in lieu of the pronoun.

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