Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A word used in metonymy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A word that names an object from a single characteristic of it or of a closely related object; a word used in metonymy.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A name given to a group (usually a genus) after a different name had been applied to another member (usually a species) of the same group. According to the American code of botanical nomenclature, a metonym is invalid.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a word that denotes one thing but refers to a related thing

Etymologies

Back-formation from metonymy.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Back-formation from metonymy. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • “Bartús” is evidently formed “on the weight” of “Bartút;” and his metonym is a caricature, a chaff fit for Fellahe.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • But it is worthwhile teasing this apart a little, unbinding the different aspects of rhetorics lumped together in one component and separating out the semiotic layering (i.e. the use of metaphor and metonym) stuck in with the second.

    On the Sublime

  • The nation's press lords waged an endless campaign against anyone who taught it; even the word yoga became a metonym for secret doorways and sex worship.

    'The Great Oom'

  • In other words, Hindki as used locally referenced Hindus in the first instance, but it served as a metonym for all Indians in Afghanistan.

    Connecting Histories in Afghanistan: Market Relations and State Formation on a Colonial Frontier

  • In response to Brunetti's observation that she was displaying a certain lack of multicultural sensitivity, she replied that half the trouble and most of the violence in the world would be eliminated if men were forced to do their own ironing, 'which word I use as a metonym for all housework, please understand', she had hastened to add.

    February 2008

  • In so doing, they have, as Janet Halley has observed, "treat [ed] sodomy as a metonym for homosexual personhood," 26 thereby attempting to criminalize homosexuality itself.

    'Trivial Complaints:' The Role of Privacy in Domestic Violence Law and Activism in the U.S.

  • The characterisation of magic as a semiotic skill has, in fact, resulted in a back-reading whereby it becomes symbolic of semiotic skill itself -- a metonym of the power of language, of consciousness, of "spirit".

    Archive 2008-07-01

  • Hmm, this isn't quite relevant to the context of the question, but at the moment I'm working on an idea of relevance in fantasy as a product of the figurative function of narrative in general and of metaphor & metonym specifically.

    Notes on Strange Fiction: Seams

  • In segregating out figuration, what I'm suggesting is that the operation at play in figurative language -- metaphor and metonym -- needs to be distinguished from both literal reference-making (mimesis) and abstract pattern-making (autotelesis), understood as discretely purposed.

    Notes on Strange Fiction: Narrative's Function (1)

  • From 1961 to 1989 the wall had been a dividing line in, a symbol of, and a metonym for, the Cold War.

    1989-2009: Moving The Berlin Wall To Russia's Borders

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.