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See also: Metonym



Back-formation from metonymy.



  • crown (sovereign in a monarchy)
  • dish (specific type of prepared food)
  • tongue (language)
  • Washington (US government)

metonym (plural metonyms)

  1. (grammar) A word that names an object from a single characteristic of it or of a closely related object; a word used in metonymy.
    Calling a government a "city hall" is using a metonym.
    • 1891 September 1, William Minto, “Practical talks on writing English”, in Theodor Flood, editor, The Chautauquan, volume 13, →OCLC, pages 279–280: say that "New York was thrown into a state of great excitement," when we mean the inhabitants of New York, is technically to use the metonym of putting "the container for the thing contained."
    • 2014 November, Melanie Schulze Tanielian, “Feeding the city: The Beirut Municipality and the politics of food during World War I”, in International Journal of Middle East Studies, volume 46, number 4, →JSTOR, pages 737-758:
      She not only outlines the devastating effects of seferberlik but also highlights the changing meaning of this term - as it acquired a civilian dimension in its Arabic rendition (safar barlik) - and its potency as a metonym for the war as a whole.
  2. (by extension) A concept, idea, or word used to represent, typify, or stand in for a broader set of ideas.
    See also: symbol, model, microcosm, archetype, exemplar, proxy
    • 2011, Geraldine Lawless, Modernity's Metonyms: Figuring Time in Nineteenth-century Spanish Stories, Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, →ISBN, page 155:
      Chapter 1, using the railway as a metonym, explored the relationship between past and present, and argued that diachronic, or historical, time was dissolved in the proliferation of present moments, or synchronic time.



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Back-formation from metonymi.


metonym n (singular definite metonymet, plural indefinite metonymer)

  1. (grammar) metonym
    • 2011, Jan Krag Jacobsen, 29 spørgsmål, Samfundslitteratur, →ISBN, page 124:
      Den lille trailer [] blev [] brugt som et metonym for sort arbejde.
      The little trailer [] was [] used as a metonym for undeclared work.
    • 2010, Krydsfelt Grundbog i Dansk, Gyldendal Uddannelse, →ISBN, page 133:
      I Herman Bangs Stuk (1887) er den arkitektoniske stuk blot et udsnit af tidens pyntesyge overfladeliv bliver et metonym på samtiden.[sic]
      In Herman Bang's Stuk (1887), the architectural stucco is only a slice of the gaudy surface life of the time becomes a metonym of the time.[sic]
    • 2011, Thomas Wiben Jensen, Kognition og konstruktion: to tendenser i humaniora og den offentlige debat, Samfundslitteratur, →ISBN, page 250:
      ... en tendens til at bruge hjernen som et metonym for ens personlighed, ...
      ... a tendency to use the brain as a metonym for one's personality, ...




  • IPA(key): /mɛtɔˈnyːm/, /mɛtʊˈnyːm/


metonym c

  1. (linguistics) metonym


Declension of metonym 
Singular Plural
Indefinite Definite Indefinite Definite
Nominative metonym metonymen metonymer metonymerna
Genitive metonyms metonymens metonymers metonymernas