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(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 ?
In the same fractured metonymical manner, he likes to convey sexuality and desire through Freudian displacements (the cigar scene in the hammock at Two Acres), or he will replace bodies by their reproductions (the sculpted marble tomb by which Cecil's body is displaced and the secret of "the celebrated membrum virile" that it hides [155]).
Accordingly, we may find instances where metonymical tacts can either intertwine with or be superseded by abstract tact guidance by first changing [S.
The most notable difference would be that Mendes focuses solely on the relationship between Francisco and Salazar, characterizing the relationship as metonymical.
Furthermore, looking back at the main lines of the state-of-the-art theories about Latin American culture, racial mixture and anthropophagy, with all their metaphorical and metonymical variants, they may be considered as the recurring theoretical paradigms of the discourse on identity.
Smith's metonymical model, for example, is evident in the manner in which the name "Church" is employed throughout the document.
This metonymical association--which appears to have emerged only in the nineteenth century as an image associated with the embattled papacy of Pius IX, who became known as the "prisoner of the Vatican" after 1870--was commonly found in a range of prayer books and manuals designed for "visits" to the Blessed Sacrament.
Jewel blames everyone else for "burning hell to get her there," but when the journey begins he is able to transfer his feelings for his mother fully onto his horse, leaving Cash clinging to Addie's coffin--which has become for Cash, not a substitute for the maternal corpse, but instead, through Cash's sexual fixation and the corpse's biological decomposition, a metonymical extension of the corpse itself--and unable to turn loose of his mother's corpse even at the cost of his own broken leg and near-drowning (AILD 19).
The dog's reappearance in other relationship poems is almost metonymical.
Among hitherto unused resources Feyaerts and Brone mention, for example, Rachel Giora's Marked Informativeness Requirement and Optimal Innovation Hypothesis, and Ronald Langacker's definition of metonymy; they analyze some German metonymical phraseologisms and claim that the difficulty of processing them is measurable via the number of causal 'steps' that are necessary to reach the target concept that the metonymy is to stand for.
Consequently, he becomes Godfather both in the church and at the very venues of the murder-scenes, so both in the literal (and holy) and in the metonymical (and symbolic) meaning of the word.
xv, his emphasis)--a recognition of Landsdale's mythical, even metonymical presence in Vietnam for the Americans who came later.
In truly Petrarchan fashion, the dead beloved's voice, eyes, and hair shed most of their metonymical force as they transform into metaphors for poetic mastery, indices of the poet's amputating subjectivity rather than reminders of the body to which they once belonged.