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[mi-ton-uh-mee] /mɪˈtɒn ə mi/
noun, Rhetoric
a figure of speech that consists of the use of the name of one object or concept for that of another to which it is related, or of which it is a part, as “scepter” for “sovereignty,” or “the bottle” for “strong drink,” or “count heads (or noses)” for “count people.”.
1540-50; < Late Latin metōnymia < Greek metōnymía change of name; see met-, -onym, -y3 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for metonymy
  • The editors of the book have not succumbed to the current mania for metonymy that has infected some recent art picture books.
  • In academic language, this is metonymy: the part can stand in for the whole.
  • It's simple metonymy is what I'm saying.
  • Explains importance of metonymy in reading and teaching these stories.
British Dictionary definitions for metonymy


noun (pl) -mies
the substitution of a word referring to an attribute for the thing that is meant, as for example the use of the crown to refer to a monarch Compare synecdoche
Derived Forms
metonymical (ˌmɛtəˈnɪmɪkəl), metonymic, adjective
metonymically, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin from Greek: a changing of name, from meta- (indicating change) + onoma name
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for metonymy

1560s, from French métonymie (16c.) and directly from Late Latin metonymia, from Greek metonymia, literally "a change of name," related to metonomazein "to call by a new name; to take a new name," from meta- "change" (see meta-) + onyma, dialectal form of onoma "name" (see name (n.)). Figure in which the name of one thing is used in place of another that is suggested by or associated with it (e.g. the Kremlin for "the Russian government"). Related: Metonymic; metonymical.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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metonymy in Medicine

metonymy me·ton·y·my (mə-tŏn'ə-mē)
In schizophrenia, a language disturbance in which an inappropriate but related word is used in place of the correct one.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for metonymy

(from Greek metonymia, "change of name," or "misnomer"), figure of speech in which the name of an object or concept is replaced with a word closely related to or suggested by the original, as "crown" to mean "king" ("The power of the crown was mortally weakened") or an author for his works ("I'm studying Shakespeare"). A familiar Shakespearean example is Mark Antony's speech in Julius Caesar in which he asks of his audience: "Lend me your ears."

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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