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Metonymy

Posted by ESC on October 14, 2004

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for October 14, 2004, is:

metonymy \muh-TAH-nuh-mee\ noun
: a figure of speech consisting of the use of the name of one thing for that of another of which it is an attribute or with which it is associated.

Example sentence:
American journalists employ metonymy whenever they say "the White House" in place of "the president and his administration."

Did you know?
When Mark Antony asks the people of Rome to lend him their ears in William Shakespeare's play _Julius Caesar_, he is employing the rhetorical device known as metonymy. Derived via Latin from the Greek "metonymia" (from "meta-," meaning "among,
with, after" and "onyma," meaning "name"), metonymy often appears in news articles and headlines, such as when journalists use the term "crown" to refer to a king or queen. Another common example is the use of an author's name to refer to works written by that person, as in "He is studying Hemingway." Metonymy is closely related to synecdoche, which refers to the naming of a part of something to refer to the whole thing (or vice versa), as in "We hired extra hands to help us."