Definition of metonymy
: 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 (as “crown” in “lands belonging to the crown”)
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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
First Known Use: 1573
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