(redirected from metonymical)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.
Related to metonymical: metonymies


(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 Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.


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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
Among these approaches, the prototype view proposed by Peirsman & Geeraerts (2006) adds a qualitative dimension to the notion of metonymy as, depending on the strength of contiguity, metonymical relations can be more or less prototypical, i.e.
The "deep wisdom," alluded to in Plaisier's title, evolves from Shakespeare's ability to see profoundly into the consequences of human behavior within a world tangled in metonymical uncertainties, transitions between parts not fully understood, whether under the hue of Machiavellianism, Stoicism, skepticism, true piety, doubt, or joyous inhibition.
As the poem says, "This canal goes still to TenShi/ though the old king built for pleasure." Once again, the poet captures the adverb "still" to emphasize the spatial-temporal meaning of "movement." The canal goes to the northern end in TenShi, the modern Tong County near Beijing and flows to the southern part "at San Yin," a place of the southeastern Yangtze region, in which the poet describes in the third stanza, "they are a people of leisure." The metonymical canal indicates that "imperial power" not only brings convenience and happiness to people, but also gets the rich country into debt.
The integral scene of the engagement dinner explicitly reveals the metonymical relationship between the meal itself and the landscape and society that provided its basic elements.
These gaming modes operate metaphorically, but Faulkner equates them horizontally to stress their metonymical roles.
In this the drum can be understood as a metonymical extension of the ritual house and men's initiatory acts originating with Afek.
For the final and most important structural aspect we need to understand about The Stranger's Child is its radically metonymical organization.
Foucault continuously examines the role of confessional power in structuring the modern subjectivity, most notably in his books The Theory of Sexuality (particularly Parts 1 and 2) and Discipline and Punish, Technologies of the Self, lectures such as Truth and Juridical Forms, (1973), Abnormal (1974-1975), and essays such as "Writing the Self." Foucault treats confession as an essentially metonymical practice--a claim that allows him to propose confession as a crucial element in the development of the modern system of power where abstract origins are substituted for particular actions.
As this is how metonymy works, Nie Yaning (2008) argued that the metonymical uses of CHI originate from an interaction between human sense organs, foods and the locations where foods are served
We can test for metonymical extension by asking for all things that go with Halloween and seeing whether a black cat is selected (Skinner, 1957, p.
Peterson (175) and Bersani (21) identify the problem with Emma's reading as an inability to move from the metonymical to the metaphorical--Emma assumes a direct and absolute corollary between the descriptive detail and the imagined reality, unable to grasp the arbitrary nature of sign systems.