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Examples (serial application of tropes)

Was this the face that launched a thousand ships
and burnt the topless towers of Ilium?
- Chistopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
Face is a metonymy for "person" or "woman" (Helen), a metonymy for Paris's motivation, casus belli for the Trojan War (metaphorically, "launched a thousand ships"), which led to the sacking of Troy, metonymically invoked by "burnt the topless towers of Ilium".


From Late Latin metalepsis, variant of Latin metalēmpsis, from Ancient Greek μετάληψις(metálēpsis, succession).


metalepsis ‎(plural metalepses)

  1. (rhetoric) A rhetorical device whereby one word is metonymically substituted for another word which is itself a metonym; more broadly, a metaphor consisting of a series of embedded metonyms or rhetorical substitutions.


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