metonymy

noun me·ton·y·my \ mə-ˈtä-nə-mē \

Definition of metonymy

plural metonymies
:a figure of speech consisting of the use of the name of one thing for that of another of which it is an attribute or with which it is associated (such as "crown" in "lands belonging to the crown")

metonymic

play \ˌme-tə-ˈni-mik\ or metonymical play \-mi-kəl\ adjective

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Recent Examples of metonymy from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'metonymy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

When Mark Antony asks the people of Rome to lend him their ears in William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, he is employing the rhetorical device known as metonymy. Derived via Latin from Greek metonymia (from meta-, meaning "among," with, or after, and onyma, meaning "name"), metonymy often appears in news articles and headlines, as when journalists use the term "crown" to refer to a king or queen. Another common example is the use of an author's name to refer to works written by that person, as in "He is studying Hemingway." Metonymy is closely related to synecdoche, which refers to the naming of a part of something to refer to the whole thing (or vice versa), as in "We hired extra hands to help us."

Origin and Etymology of metonymy

Latin metonymia, from Greek metōnymia, from meta- + -ōnymon -onym

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms


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