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From mero- +‎ -onymy (from Ancient Greek μέρος (méros, part) + ὄνομα (ónoma, name)); compare meronym.



meronymy (countable and uncountable, plural meronymies)

  1. (semantics) The relationship of being a constituent part or member of something; a system of meronyms.
    Antonym: holonymy
    • 1995, Jürgen Handke, The Structure of the Lexicon: Human Versus Machine, page 90:
      This relationship of meronymy is controversial for various reasons. First, there are several types of meronymy, such as functional meronymy, where one concept is a functional part of another (e.g. FINGER-HAND) or more general part-whole relations, where the part and the whole exist as a continuous entity (e.g. FLAME-FIRE). Secondly, there are diverging opinions as to whether meronymy should be treated as a semantic primitive in the sense of [syn]onymy, antonymy, and hyponymy.
    • 1999, Sylvia Adamson, “7: Literary Language”, in Roger Lass, editor, The Cambridge History of the English Language: Volume III: 1476-1776, page 564:
      But whereas hyponymy is a member—class relation, reflecting a taxonomy or conceptual hierarchy, meronymy is a part—whole relation, reflecting the existence of complex structures in concrete reality.
    • 2003, M. Lynne Murphy, Semantic Relations and the Lexicon: Antonymy, Synonymy and Other Paradigms, pages 233–234:
      Possession, like meronymy, is described in English (and equivelently in other languages) with the verb to have (A millionaire has money) and the line between possession and part-having is fuzzy at best. [] Priss (1998) suggests that meronymy might be formalized as an attribution relation, such that HAS-A-HANDLE-FOR-A-PART would be an attribute of hammer and cup. Thus, the case for separating attribution and possession from meronymy is not strong.

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Further reading