Definition of metonymy in English:

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Pronunciation: /məˈtänəmē/

noun (plural metonymies)

The substitution of the name of an attribute or adjunct for that of the thing meant, for example suit for business executive, or the track for horse racing.
Example sentences
  • Another characteristic of the semantics of slang is the tendency to name things indirectly and figuratively, especially through metaphor, metonymy, and irony.
  • There is a typology of rhetorical figures of speech made up of four tropes, they in turn govern the way we operate language: metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, and irony.
  • Traditional and cognitive rhetorics differ most markedly in their approach to metaphor, metonymy, and other figures.



Pronunciation: /ˌmedəˈnimik/
Example sentences
  • The costume made the man so that costume became the charged metonymic signifier of an interiority, a self, that was only produced in the first place by a uniform and the required props.
  • Until now, Burke has refused to let Ransom distinguish scientists from poets, for the metonymic nature of language constrains both parties.
  • What's the role of convention in this area - do metonymic norms differ across languages or across genres, and does this matter?


Pronunciation: /ˌmetəˈnimikəl/
Example sentences
  • There is a need, therefore, for animals used as farm background, similes, and metonymical suggestions.
  • At this point, however, Burke recognizes that the poet has a rhetorical aptitude that compensates for metonymical reduction with rhetorical inducement.
  • But people get all excited about metaphorical and metonymical changes, missing the crucial point, that in such non - head like cases, things really aren't what they once were.


Pronunciation: /ˌmedəˈnimik(ə)lē/
Example sentences
  • Within a single discourse community, this is feasible: once people understand what the signs represent, they come to expect that a certain combination of textual gestures metonymically present an Other self on a printed page.
  • The object doesn't necessarily have to be an activity, though an activity is usually implied metonymically.
  • So the book itself stands, metonymically, as a potentially solid architectural edifice, like the Company store and Miss Whitlaw's Victorian house, both of which withstand the earthquake.


Mid 16th century: via Latin from Greek metōnumia, literally 'change of name'.

Words that rhyme with metonymy

agronomy, astronomy, autonomy, bonhomie, Deuteronomy, economy, gastronomy, heteronomy, physiognomy, taxonomy

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: me·ton·y·my

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