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Old 10-16-2019, 07:53 PM
Hilarity N. Suze is offline
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Name of a rhetorical device


I can explain, my stylebooks that have the answer to this are inaccessible, due to a no-longer-used drum set blocking a certain bookcase.

I'm looking for the name of the rhetorical device where you substitute a name for a real name, for instance you don't know a person's name so you refer to her as Goth Girl, or Blondie, or something other than what her name is.

I think there is a different name for the device where you don't know a person but define that person by a characteristic, and when you do know that person and give them a nickname. The one for the unknown name is what I'm looking for.

PS: I did try Googling it, but did not get the word I remember for this verbal device. Please help, I do not want to dis-assemble and move that damn drum set and this is driving me crazy.

Last edited by Hilarity N. Suze; 10-16-2019 at 07:53 PM.
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Old 10-16-2019, 08:19 PM
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Metonymy?
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Old 10-17-2019, 05:26 AM
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Antonomasia or sobriquet, the former is more the rhetorical device name, I think.

Last edited by MrDibble; 10-17-2019 at 05:27 AM.
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Old 10-17-2019, 05:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrDibble View Post
Antonomasia or sobriquet, the former is more the rhetorical device name, I think.
Although those are the general sense, for the specific case of not knowing the actual name, I can't think of anything more formal than "placeholder name". Wikipedia seems to think "cadigan" is an equivalent term but I don't think it's a formal name for it.
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Old 10-19-2019, 07:36 PM
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Yes! Antonomasia.

I went through "metonymy" and "synecdoche" which are a couple that I happen to remember the names of and I kept thinking, "No, it starts with A..."

Thanks!

PS: I first heard the word "sobriquet" when I was 10 and buying a horse. As the seller was saddling her up for my test ride he said, "Her name is Sobriquet, but we call her Spooky." Many horses have an official name and a barn name, so I thought nothing of it at the time, and I always called her Spooky. Many years later [well, about six, seemed like many at the time], in English class, I learned the term "sobriquet" and at first I felt bad about missing the joke. And then I wondered if this ranch hand had actually been making a joke. Because knowing words like "sobriquet" is not really what you think of, when you think of Oklahoma cowboy ranch hands. Although I think he may have pronounced it wrong. It's probably "so-brickay" and not "so-briquette."

Last edited by Hilarity N. Suze; 10-19-2019 at 07:38 PM.
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Old 10-19-2019, 09:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilarity N. Suze View Post
It's probably "so-brickay" and not "so-briquette."
Yes, "so-brickay", with the accent on the first syllable.
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Old 10-20-2019, 08:28 PM
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I was thinking "epithet..."
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