Share this entry

Share this page

metonymy

Line breaks: me¦ton|ymy
Pronunciation: /mɪˈtɒnɪmi
 
/

Definition of metonymy in English:

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.

Origin

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

Derivatives

metonymic

1
Pronunciation: /mɛtəˈnɪmɪk/
adjective
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?

metonymical

2
Pronunciation: /mɛtəˈnɪmɪk(ə)l/
adjective
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.

metonymically

3
Pronunciation: /mɛtəˈnɪmɪk(ə)li/
adverb
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.

Definition of metonymy in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day cumbersome
Pronunciation: ˈkʌmbəs(ə)m
adjective
large or heavy and therefore difficult to carry…