From Late Latin metonymia, from Ancient Greek μετονομασία (metonomasía, “change of name”), from μετά (metá, “other”) + ὄνομα (ónoma, “name”).
metonymy (countable and uncountable, plural metonymies)
- The use of a single characteristic or part of an object, concept or phenomenon to identify the entire object, concept, phenomenon or a related object.
1891 September 1, William Minto, “Practical talks on writing English”, in Theodor Flood, editor, The Chautauquan, volume 13, OCLC 752442901, page 279:
...the principle of metonymy is simply to substitute for the plain name of a thing a name or phrase based on something connected with it.
- (countable) A metonym.
- The White House released its official report today. — "The White House" for "The presidential administration"
- The Crown has enacted a new social security policy. — "The Crown" for "The government of the United Kingdom".
- A crowd of fifty heads — where "head" stands for person.
- Put it on the plastic — material (plastic) for object (credit card)