What is the term used when replacing a name for a noun? Example Mrs. Lewis walked in.---> The teacher walked in.

  • I would like to call it denominalization. Unfortunately that word has already been hijacked for another use. Sep 30, 2015 at 9:02
  • 1
    Why do you need a word for this process of replacement?
    – Drew
    Sep 30, 2015 at 17:08
  • @user140679 Whenever a proper name is replaced with a common noun, we just avoid a repetition of the proper name. Such replacement is obviously possible when there is identity of subjects (or objects): Mrs. Lewis, the teacher, walked in. I've thought of the term "deproperization", but that would be the case when a proper name is converted into a common noun, as in "I have two Rembrandts".
    – Gustavson
    Mar 8, 2017 at 1:43

1 Answer 1


The most common term for it seems to be antonomasia, which the Oxford English Dictionary defines as:

  1. The substitution of an epithet or title for a proper name. Also: the substituted epithet itself.
  2. The use of the proper name of a particular individual as a generic term to denote others who belong to an implied type; an instance of this.

(The sense you want is #1.)

According to the OED, another term for it (in both senses) is pronomination; and one source also claims that periphrasis has these senses [link], though in my experience periphrasis is usually much more general (and the OED does not list such a specific sense for it).

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