Metonymy definition example

Metonymy is a type of figurative language in which an object or concept is referred to not by its own name, but instead by the name of something closely associated with it. For example, in "Wall Street prefers lower taxes," the New York City street that was the original home of the New York Stock Exchange stands in for or is a "metonym" for the entire American financial industry. Both metonymy and synecdoche create a relationship in which one thing or idea stands in for another.

But the specific relationship between the two objects is much more precise and specific in synecdoche than it is in metonymy:. Some people actually consider synecdoche to be a subset of metonymy, since to be a part of something is, by definition, to be closely related to that thing. Other people believe that the two terms are completely distinct—that metonymy can only occur when it proposes a relationship between two things that are not part of one another, and that synecdoche can never be simultaneously metonymy.

There's no definitive consensus on which of these two ways of seeing metonymy and synecdoche is correct, so you should just know that the debate exists. Metonymy and metaphor are similar in that both are forms of figurative language that create a comparison or relationship between two different things or ideas.

However, the nature of the relationship is different. Metaphor, then, projects the meaning of one thing onto an unrelated thing. Metonymy points out that two things are so closely related that they can stand in for one another. While metonymy proposes a relationship between two closely related things, metalepsis creates a more distant relationship between a figurative word and the thing to which it refers.

This is an abstract concept, so it's best to illustrate it with an example.

Examples of Metonymy

Take the sentence below:. The phrase "lead foot" is a metalepsis that refers to a driver who speeds. To decode the relationship between "lead foot" and its meaning of "speeding," though, you first have to understand a metonymy within the phrase itself.

In this context, "lead" does not literally refer to the metal. Because lead is an uncommonly heavy material, "lead" metonymically stands in for the notion of weight. If a driver's foot is heavy, then it would press more on the gas pedal, causing the car to speed—hence, a "lead foot. Since the relationship between "lead foot" and "speeding driver" is made not by direct association, but rather through a secondary association between lead and heaviness a metonymythis figure of speech is considered a metalepsis.

For this reason, metalepsis is often called a "metonymy of a metonymy"—it's a metonymic association "lead foot" with "speeding" that relies on a secondary metonymy "lead" with "heaviness" in order to make sense. As with synecdoche, some people consider metalepsis to be a subset of metonymy, while others consider it to be a distinct but closely-related concept.

Metonymy is everywhere in spoken and written language—it's in poetry and prose, the political jargon that fills newspapers and radio, songs, folk sayings, and more. Many common idioms are examples of metonymy. In fact, some of these idioms seem so common and straightforward that it might be jarring to realize that their meanings aren't actually literal.

Metonymy is particularly common in speaking and writing about politics, especially within the media. This popularity may stem from the fact that metonymy allows for the replacement of long or complicated ideas with simpler and shorter stand-ins, and writing concisely is always a goal of journalists.

Metonymy is also often found in song lyrics. This is, in part due to the fact that associative thinking is at the heart of the creative process, in part because an unexpected word can be so evocative, and also because being able to use one word to stand in for another can be convenient for rhyme. Here he's using "limelight" as a metonymy for fame a "limelight" was a kind of spotlight used in old theaters.

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Biggie's use of metonymy here also sets him up for a sweet rhyme. Ebony and ivory Live together in perfect harmony Side by side on my piano keyboard Oh lord, why don't we? These lyrics contain a double metonymy in which colors ebony and ivory, or black and white stand in simultaneously for piano keys and race relations.

Obviously, Paul McCartney doesn't mean this literally when he sings it—he's not advising someone to go find a surgeon. Since the heart is closely associated with love, the line uses metonymy to remind Jude not to close himself off to love.Metonymy is when you substitute an attribute or something closely related to a thing for the name of the thing. From F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby -Fitzgerald uses the place name to stand for the people who live in the place:.

Toggle navigation. Metonymy Metonymy is when you substitute an attribute or something closely related to a thing for the name of the thing. Examples of Metonymy from Literature: From Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind -Georgia refers to the government, people of Georgia: "I'm mighty glad Georgia waited till after Christmas before it seceded or it would have ruined the Christmas parties.

Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby -Fitzgerald uses the place name to stand for the people who live in the place: "The party preserved a dignified homogeneity, and assumed to itself the function of representing the staid nobility of the countryside- East Egg condescending to West Eggand carefully on guard against its spectroscopic gayety. Related Links: Examples Grammar Examples.Metonymy is a figure of speech in which something is called by a new name that is related in meaning to the original thing or concept.

However, there are many more words in common usage that are metonyms. Here are more examples of metonymy:.

Metonymy Examples

Metonymy and synecdoche are very similar figures of speech, and some consider synecdoche to be a specific type of metonymy. The definition of metonymy is more expansive, including concepts that are merely associated in meaning and not necessarily parts of the original thing or concept. Scholars have long been interested in metonymy as a literary and rhetorical device.

Ancient Greek and Latin scholars discussed the way in which metonymy changed words and meanings by providing new referents and connections between concepts. Authors have used metonymy for millennia for many different reasons. One primary reason is simply to address something in a more poetic and unique way.

Sometimes metonymy is also helpful to make statements more concise. Their ocean-keel boarding, they drove through the deep, and Daneland left. A sea-cloth was set, a sail with ropes, firm to the mast; the flood-timbers moaned; nor did wind over billows that wave-swimmer blow across from her course. In the Old English epic poem Beowulf there are many examples of metonymy. Thus metonymy creates new connections in this example.

Shakespeare used metonymy in many of his plays and poems. This line from Hamlet is often repeated. The rottenness is not widespread over the entire country, but instead is limited to the dealings of those in power. In this case, the character Claudius has come to power in a suspicious way, and those surrounding him feel unease at the new order. The party preserved a dignified homogeneity, and assumed to itself the function of representing the staid nobility of the countryside—East Egg condescending to West Egg, and carefully on guard against its spectroscopic gayety.

This metonymy example from F. In fact, to the outside observer there is not much different between the two places, but the inhabitants of East Egg find it very important to establish the distinctions between them. He tried to remember in what year he had first heard mention of Big Brother. He thought it must have been at some time in the sixties, but it was impossible to be certain.

In the Party histories, of course, Big Brother figured as the leader and guardian of the Revolution since its very earliest days. His exploits had been gradually pushed backwards in time until already they extended into the fabulous world of the forties and the thirties, when the capitalists in their strange cylindrical hats still rode through the streets of London in great gleaming motor-cars or horse carriages with glass sides.

There was no knowing how much of this legend was true and how much invented. Winston could not even remember at what date the Party itself had come into existence. By using the metonymy to refer to the individuals, Orwell further separates the governing class from any sense of humanity; no one in the society seems to know the name of any actual ruling member. Choose the best metonymy definition from the following statements: A. A figure of speech in which a thing or concept is called by another name that is related in meaning to the original thing.Metonymy is a figure of speech or trope in which one word or phrase is substituted for another with which it's closely associated such as "crown" for "royalty".

Metonymy is also the rhetorical strategy of describing something indirectly by referring to things around it, as in describing someone's clothing to characterize the individual. Adjective: metonymic. A variant of metonymy is synecdoche. Etymology : From the Greek, "change of name".

Here are some examples of the 'part of an expression for the whole expression' metonymy in American English :. Broadview, For example, understanding the sentence".

metonymy definition example

Involves identifying the ham sandwich with the thing he or she ate and setting up a domain in which the ham sandwich refers to the person. This domain is separate from the 'real' world, in which the phrase 'ham sandwich refers to a ham sandwich. The distinction between the real world and the metonymic world can be seen in the sentence:. This sentence does not make sense; it uses the phrase 'ham sandwich' to refer both to the person in the metonymic world and a ham sandwich in the real world.

Markman, Knowledge Representation. Lawrence Erlbaum, Going to bed is typically understood metonymically in the sense of 'going to sleep. Our knowledge of this sequence of acts is exploited in metonymy: in referring to the initial act we evoke the whole sequence of acts, in particular the central act of sleeping. Universitat Jaume, While likewise based on a principle of contiguity, synecdoche occurs when a part is used to represent a whole or a whole to represent a part, as when workers are referred to as 'hands' or when a national football team is signified by reference to the nation to which it belongs: 'England beat Sweden.

Here, 'the hand' is a synecdochic representation of the mother of whom it is a part, while 'the cradle' represents a child by close association. Continuum, Another noted example is the change of orange from the name of a fruit to the color of that fruit. Since orange refers to all instances of the color, this change also includes generalization. A third example Bolinger, is the verb wantwhich once meant 'lack' and changed to the contiguous sense of 'desire.

Orange is a polysemic word, it's two distinct and nondependent meanings metonymically related. SUNY Press, It is something that is already at the very heart of metonymy as a conceptual operation where one content stands for another but both are actively activated at least to some degree.

In other words, metonymy is an efficient way of saying two things for the price of one, i. This necessarily enhances the cohesion of an utterance because two topical concepts are referred to by means of one label, and there is consequently, at least nominally, less shifting or switching between these two topics.

Thornburg, and Antonio Barcelona. John Benjamins, Pronunciation: me-TON-uh-me. Also Known As: denominatio, misnamer, transmutation.

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Share Flipboard Email.Definition of Metonymy. Examples of Metonymy in a sentence. Did you know a commonly used metonymy for the cheerleading team is squad? When a guy refers to his car as his ride, he is using a metonymy. A metonymy is basically the substitution of one term for another term.

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What Are Metonyms? Definition and Examples

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Mea Culpa: In a Sentence. Numinous: In a Sentence. Multiplicity: In a Sentence. Posse: In a Sentence. Turnpike: In a Sentence. Titular: In a Sentence. Tachycardia: In a Sentence.Metonymy is the substitution of the name of one thing for that of another to which the former bears a known and close relation. Metonymy calls one thing by the name of another which is closely related to the first.

In both cases the term so approximates to the meaning of Earth, doubtless by metonymyas to be indistinguishable from it. Metonymy consists in naming an object by one of its attributes or accompaniments. The general effect of metonymy is to bring before the mind a definite image, and thus to impart a graphic quality to the style. Save This Word! See synonyms for metonymy on Thesaurus. Words nearby metonymy MetolmetolazoneMetonic cyclemetonymmetonymicalmetonymyme-toome-tooismmetopemetopicmetopic suture.

Words related to metonymy symbolimageanalogysimilitudeemblempersonificationallegoryhopetropeallusionanticlimaxantithesisbathoscomparisonconceitdeviceeuphemismeuphuismexaggerationexpression. Example sentences from the Web for metonymy Metonymy is the substitution of the name of one thing for that of another to which the former bears a known and close relation.

metonymy definition example

English: Composition and Literature W. William Franklin Webster. Studies on Homer and the Homeric Age, Vol. Elementary Guide to Literary Criticism F. In schizophrenia, a language disturbance in which an inappropriate but related word is used in place of the correct one. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. Get Help Now!A metonym is a word or phrase used in place of another with which it's closely associated.

One of the four master tropesmetonyms have traditionally been associated with metaphors. Like metaphors, metonyms are figures of speech used in everyday conversation as well as in literature and rhetorical texts.

metonymy definition example

But whereas a metaphor offers an implicit comparison, a metonym is a part or attribute of a thing that represents the thing itself. Such a part must be in some sense outstanding, easily recognizable, and play a unique role in the whole. A steering wheel would be a good metonym for driving, a violin a good metonym for a classical orchestra, bread a good metonym for a baker's shop, a file folder a good metonym for organizing documents in a computer.

Traffic signs, for example, might employ pictograms of the road, a car, bicycle, or pedestrian, but they do not represent anything beyond the part-whole relationship. CRC Press, As you stare into the blank depths of his eyes, you could point out hastily, but with growing confidence, that a metonym is a way of referring to something by one of its attributes.

So when we say 'hoodie,' we mean 'a sweatshirt with a hood and also the person who wears it. BBC Books, A militantly protesting striker and a bored cold striker are both part of the same picket line, but they may be represented as significantly different metonyms.

For instance many Londoners call their city 'The Smoke. Routledge, The classical example is ham sandwichused by a waiter to refer to a customer consuming a ham sandwich, in:. These metonyms can only be understood in the context in which they are uttered, because the use is not an established sense of term. In this example, 'customer' is not a generally recognised sense of ham sandwichand so the expression is only interpretable as referring to a customer either through the co-text 'is sitting at table 20,' or through non-linguistic context, where, for example, the speaker indicates through a gesture that the referent is a person.

John Benjamins, In metaphor you substitute something like the thing you mean for the thing itself, whereas in metonymy you substitute some attribute or cause or effect of the thing for the thing itself. Buy the cigarette and you buy the life-style, or the fantasy of living it. Viking, While the compound metaphor makes a fanciful figurative comparison between two unlike realms 'snail mail'a compound metonym, in distinction, characterizes a single domain by using an associated literal attribute as a characterizing adjectivefor example, coffee-table book : a usually expensive large-format book that is too big to fit on a bookshelf, thus it's displayed on a table--effect for the cause.

A compound metonym--usually two or three words--can be readily distinguished from a compound metaphor by a definition that always begins one that, one who, those whichand is followed by a significant quality or attribute. For instance, a Frisbee dog is one that has been trained to catch Frisbees an attribute.

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