From Late Latin metonymia, from Ancient Greek μετωνυμίᾱ (metōnumíā, “change of name”), from μετά (metá, “other”) + ὄνομα (ónoma, “name”).
- 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 – “head” for person
- Put it on the plastic – material “plastic” for object credit card
metonymy (countable and uncountable, plural metonymies)
- (rhetoric) 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.
- Coordinate term: metaphor
- Hypernyms: trope, figure of speech
- Hyponyms: synecdoche, synecdochy
[1835, L[arret] Langley, A Manual of the Figures of Rhetoric, […], Doncaster: Printed by C. White, Baxter-Gate, OCLC 1062248511, page 7:
Metonymy does new names impose,
And things for things by near relation shews.]
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.