Definition of metonymy in English:

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Pronunciation: /mɪˈtɒnɪmi/

noun (plural metonymies)

[mass noun]
The substitution of the name of an attribute or adjunct for that of the thing meant, for example suit for business executive, or the turf 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: /mɛtəˈnɪmɪk/
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: /mɛtəˈnɪmɪk(ə)l/
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: /mɛtəˈnɪmɪk(ə)li/
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

Line breaks: me¦ton|ymy

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