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Related to metonym: metonymy, synecdoche


(mĭtŏn`əmē), figure of speech in which an attribute of a thing or something closely related to it is substituted for the thing itself. Thus, "sweat" can mean "hard labor," and "Capitol Hill" represents the U.S. Congress.


the substitution of a word referring to an attribute of a thing for the thing itself, e. the ‘crown’ to refer to the monarch. The role of metonymy in social life is a topic especially in SEMIOLOGY. See also METAPHOR, SYMBOL.



(1) A trope based on the principle of contiguity. Like metaphor, metonymy is possible because a word may have a double or multiple meaning. Thus, in the phrase “I ate three plates” (I. A. Krylov), the word “plate” simultaneously denotes two phenomena—the food and the dish. In metonymy, as in metaphor, the direct meaning of a word is superimposed on its referential meaning. However, in metonymy the two components are joined by relationships of contiguity rather than of similarity.

In metonymy the phenomena forming an “object pair” may be related to each other in a number of ways. For example, they may be whole and part (the synecdoche “Hey, you—beard! How do we get to Pliushkin’s from here?” N. V. Gogol), object and material (“He ate not on silver, but on gold,” A. S. Griboedov), or content and container (“The stoked stove crackles,” A. S. Pushkin). They may also be characteristic and characterized (“Boldness conquers cities”) or creation and creator (“The muzhik . . . will bring Belinskii and Gogol home from the market,” N. A. Nekrasov).

The artistic features of metonymy depend on the author, the culture, and the literary style. (Mythological metonymy is found in works by classical writers, who, for example, used the name of the god Mars to refer to war.)

(2) The term “metonymy” is also used to designate the use of a word in its secondary meaning, when it is related to the primary meaning by the principle of contiguity. For example, “crystal has gone on sale” and “crystal is glass containing lead oxide.” Because this phenonenon is characterized not by “renaming” but by simple naming (nomination), by a single level of meaning, and by the absence of imagistic effect, it is more correct to call it metonymization.


References in periodicals archive ?
This entrapment is most acute on the spatial level; Medem dooms spatial transformation by depending too heavily on the power of metonym and metaphor in the construction of the room.
Arabic metonym depends on the deduced implicature, while the English one is based on the referential relationship.
I have recently been doing a great deal of speaking and writing about the language of long-term care and have become convinced that to our collective detriment, we are immersed in a sea of negative hell metonyms.
Still a metaphoric extension or mirror of Britain's island ideals, then, the West Indies were nonetheless simultaneously transformed by economic vulnerability into a malfunctioning imperial metonym more likely to be expunged in favour of continental territories.
His claim that studying non-verbal and multimodal metonyms helps illuminate their dynamic and highly contextualized character more than studying purely verbal specimens is persuasive, as his conclusion that a metonym can be cued in various modes in multimodal discourse such as music, gesture, smell or touch.
Penny Fielding's essay on James's use of the library is of particular interest here, as she utilizes the theories of Jean Baudrillard, Walter Benjamin, and Jacques Derrida to explore the modern library as a metonym for "not a collection, a representative selection of culture, but culture itself" (152), illustrating just how far the Gothic has gone in infiltrating mundane reality.
Rather than using metaphor to explore identifications in rhetorical listening, Ratcliffe proposes that we use metonym instead.
Predictably, its use as a metonym for social action draws ire from those who view it as a case of liberals co-opting Judaism for their purposes.
The prolonged experience of weightless travel becomes so fundamental a theme and metonym in When Tang Met Laika that it rocks the destinies of its two married protagonists.
Not for her the eccentric anecdote made to stand as the metonym of a whole society's values.
I shall focus specifically on their presentation of the conflicts between Jerusalem and Athens: the former, a metaphor for the keeping of the Law; the latter, a metonym for the often described idolizing and idolatrous free-spirited psyche of Greece and Rome.
Solo artists Nicky Phillips and Adam Smith joined barbershop quartet Quartermasters, indie band Metonym, rockers Makeshift Wings and 12-piece funk outfit The Funk Regulators.