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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.
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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.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
He transcribed "Menotomy" incorrectly as "Metonomy." He had Jenkins selling a "French cap" (originally, "French quilted cap") instead of "French quilts for caps." And he turned "Old Stout, Vidonia" into "stout old Vidonia."
But this is no simple metonomy. Abject Dido appears to enjoy the linguistic display of this reciprocity, this sensual deictic intimacy with Aeneas, despite its ultimate ironic failure (as does Dante's Francesca as she describes the trembling kiss she shares with Paolo).
David Castriota's "Fantasy and Metonomy in the Ancient Near Eastern Imagery of the Sacred Tree" and Randall Rhodes's "Death in Nature's Mortes: French Still Lifes of the Seventeenth Century" remind us that fantasy exists outside the written word.
Each of these is a carefully selected negative image, a metonomy for the threats posed by the policies of the major parties (ANC; NP).
For instance, as well as arguing that for Kristeva Hegelian `negativity' contains an opening for Freud's `negation', he also points out that, with respect to metonomy and metaphor, Lacan follows Quintilian `more closely than ...
Of the four classic tropes, that he takes up from Gerard Voss--metaphor, metonomy, synecdochy, irony--Vico says irony is the philosophic trope.
Which leaves us with repetition, sometimes in the form of metonomy (different objects, same desire), sometimes in the form of obsession-compulsion (same object, same desire).
To see that the dichotomy has relevance to mathematics even if one accepts that mathematics has no empirical content, I return to Samuelson's strengthened epigraph and interpret the word 'language' as a metonomy for the collectivity of languages.
Attuned to the literary conventions operating here as elsewhere in Menander, Nancy Worman (2003, 620) remarks on Pamphile's torn dress: "Imitating tragedy's sensitivity to visual symbols, the cloak is also clearly a metonomy for the girl--another once valuable but now ruined commodity." (29) The comedy's happy ending depends on Pamphile's regaining of her valuable status, and yet the detail of the ruined dress will resurface in another context, where it must be worn by the noncitizen Habrotonon, whose own value is measured by an entirely different and, as we have learned, much more pecuniary, standard (12 drachmas a day; Epit.