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 (such as “crown” in “lands belonging to the crown”)
metonymy was our Word of the Day on 09/12/2013. Hear the podcast!
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Recent Examples of metonymy from the Web
The general connection, then, is that in both watchmaking and gunmaking the term has a history of being used to denote diameter and in both cases, to some extent, has come to refer to a thing whose diameter was specified (maybe by metonymy).
Beyond the day’s stories, however, artists have often used (print) newspapers as metonymies for the flow and acceleration of information.
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
First Known Use: 1573See Words from the same year
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