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Metonymy () is a
figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar a ...
in which a thing or concept is referred to by the name of something closely associated with that thing or concept.


Etymology

The words ''metonymy'' and ''metonym'' come from the
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
, , "a change of name", from , , "after, post, beyond", and , , a suffix that names figures of speech, from , or , , "name".


Background

Metonymy and related figures of speech are common in everyday speech and writing.
Synecdoche A synecdoche ( , from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10. ...
and
metalepsis Metalepsis (from grc-gre, μετάληψις) is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric Rhetori ...

metalepsis
are considered specific types of metonymy.
Polysemy Polysemy ( or ; from grc-gre, πολύ-, , "many" and , , "sign") is the capacity for a word or phrase to have multiple related meanings. Polysemy is thus distinct from homonymy—or homophone, homophony—which is an accidental similarity betwee ...
, the capacity for a word or phrase to have multiple meanings, sometimes results from relations of metonymy. Both metonymy and
metaphor A metaphor is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of ...
involve the substitution of one term for another. In metaphor, this substitution is based on some specific
analogy Analogy (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximate ...

analogy
between two things, whereas in metonymy the substitution is based on some understood association or
contiguity Contiguity or contiguous may refer to: *Contiguous data storage In computer storage, fragmentation is a phenomenon in which storage space is used inefficiently, reducing capacity or performance and often both. The exact consequences of fragmentat ...
. American literary theorist
Kenneth Burke Kenneth Duva Burke (May 5, 1897 – November 19, 1993) was an American literary theory, literary theorist, as well as poet, essayist, and novelist, who wrote on 20th-century philosophy, aesthetics, criticism, and rhetoric, rhetorical theory. As a ...
considers metonymy as one of four "master
tropes Trope or tropes may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Trope (cinema) In Film, cinema, a trope is what ''The Art Direction Handbook for Film'' defines as "a universally identified image imbued with several layers of contextual meaning crea ...
":
metaphor A metaphor is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of ...
, metonymy,
synecdoche A synecdoche ( , from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10. ...
, and
irony Irony (), in its broadest sense, is a rhetorical device In rhetoric Rhetoric () is the art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities involving creative imagination to express technical proficiency, beauty, emoti ...

irony
. He discusses them in particular ways in his book '' A Grammar of Motives''. Whereas
Roman Jakobson Roman Osipovich Jakobson (russian: Рома́н О́сипович Якобсо́н; October 11, 1896Kucera, Henry. 1983. "Roman Jakobson." ''Language: Journal of the Linguistic Society of America'' 59(4): 871–883. – July 18,
argued that the fundamental
dichotomy 200px, In this image, the universal set U (the entire rectangle) is dichotomized into the two sets A (in pink) and its complement Ac (in grey). A dichotomy is a partition of a set, partition of a whole (or a set) into two parts (subsets). In oth ...

dichotomy
in trope was between metaphor and metonymy, Burke argues that the fundamental dichotomy is between irony and synecdoche, which he also describes as the dichotomy between dialectic and representation, or again between reduction and perspective. In addition to its use in everyday speech, metonymy is a figure of speech in some
poetry Poetry (derived from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its popula ...

poetry
and in much
rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic – see Martianus Capella), is one of the Trivium, three ancient arts of discourse. Rhetoric aims to study the techniques writers or sp ...
. Greek and Latin scholars of rhetoric made significant contributions to the study of metonymy.


Meaning relationships

Metonymy takes many different forms.
Synecdoche A synecdoche ( , from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10. ...
uses a part to refer to the whole, or the whole to refer to the part.
Metalepsis Metalepsis (from grc-gre, μετάληψις) is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric Rhetori ...

Metalepsis
uses a familiar word or a phrase in a new context. For example, "lead foot" may describe a fast driver; lead is heavy, and a heavy foot on the
accelerator
accelerator
causes a vehicle to go fast. The figure of speech is a "metonymy of a metonymy". Many cases of
polysemy Polysemy ( or ; from grc-gre, πολύ-, , "many" and , , "sign") is the capacity for a word or phrase to have multiple related meanings. Polysemy is thus distinct from homonymy—or homophone, homophony—which is an accidental similarity betwee ...
originate as metonyms: for example "chicken" meaning the meat as well as the animal; "crown" for the object, as well as the institution.


Metaphor and metonymy

Metonymy works by the
contiguity Contiguity or contiguous may refer to: *Contiguous data storage In computer storage, fragmentation is a phenomenon in which storage space is used inefficiently, reducing capacity or performance and often both. The exact consequences of fragmentat ...
(association) between two concepts, whereas the term "metaphor" is based upon their analogous similarity. When people use metonymy, they do not typically wish to transfer qualities from one referent to another as they do with metaphor. There is nothing press-like about reporters or crown-like about a monarch, but "the press" and "the crown" are both common metonyms. Some uses of figurative language may be understood as both metonymy and metaphor; for example, the relationship between "a crown" and a "king" could be interpreted metaphorically (i.e., the king, like his gold crown, could be seemingly stiff yet ultimately malleable, over-ornate, and consistently immobile). However, in the phrase "lands belonging to the crown", the word "crown" is definitely a metonymy. The reason is that monarchs by and large indeed wear a crown, physically. In other words, there is a pre-existent link between "crown" and "monarchy". On the other hand, when
Ghil'ad Zuckermann Ghil'ad Zuckermann ( he, גלעד צוקרמן, ; ) is an Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל; ar, إِسْرَائِيل), officially known as the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, '), is a country in W ...
argues that the Israeli language is a "phoenicuckoo cross with some magpie characteristics", he is definitely using metaphors. There is no physical link between a language and a bird. The reason the metaphors "phoenix" and "cuckoo" are used is that on the one hand hybridic "Israeli" is based on
Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken languages of the Israelites and their longest-survivi ...
, which, like a phoenix, rises from the ashes; and on the other hand, hybridic "Israeli" is based on
Yiddish Yiddish (, or , ''yidish'' or ''idish'', , ; , ''Yidish-Taytsh'', ) is a West Germanic The West Germanic languages constitute the largest of the three branches of the Germanic languages, Germanic family of languages (the others being the ...

Yiddish
, which like a cuckoo, lays its egg in the nest of another bird, tricking it to believe that it is its own egg. Furthermore, the metaphor "magpie" is employed because, according to Zuckermann, hybridic "Israeli" displays the characteristics of a magpie, "stealing" from languages such as
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
and
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
. Two examples using the term "fishing" help clarify the distinction. The phrase "to fish pearls" uses metonymy, drawing from "fishing" the idea of taking things from the ocean. What is carried across from "fishing fish" to "fishing pearls" is the domain of metonymy. In contrast, the metaphorical phrase "fishing for information" transfers the concept of fishing into a new domain. If someone is "fishing" for information, we do not imagine that the person is anywhere near the ocean; rather, we transpose elements of the action of fishing (waiting, hoping to catch something that cannot be seen, probing) into a new domain (a conversation). Thus, metaphor works by presenting a target set of meanings and using them to suggest a similarity between items, actions, or events in two domains, whereas metonymy calls up or references a specific domain (here, removing items from the sea). Sometimes, metaphor and metonymy may both be at work in the same figure of speech, or one could interpret a phrase metaphorically or metonymically. For example, the phrase " lend me your ear" could be analyzed in a number of ways. One could imagine the following interpretations: *Analyze "ear" metonymically first – "ear" means "attention" (because people use ears to pay attention to each other's speech). Now, when we hear the phrase "Talk to him; you have his ear", it symbolizes he will listen to you or that he will pay attention to you. Another phrase "lending an ear (attention)", we stretch the base meaning of "lend" (to let someone borrow an object) to include the "lending" of non-material things (attention), but, beyond this slight extension of the verb, no metaphor is at work. *Imagine the whole phrase literally – imagine that the speaker literally borrows the listener's ear as a physical object (and the person's head with it). Then the speaker has temporary possession of the listener's ear, so the listener has granted the speaker temporary control over what the listener hears. The phrase "lend me your ear" is interpreted to metaphorically mean that the speaker wants the listener to grant the speaker temporary control over what the listener hears. *First, analyze the
verb phrase In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the meth ...
"lend me your ear" metaphorically to mean "turn your ear in my direction," since it is known that, literally lending a body part is nonsensical. Then, analyze the motion of ears metonymically – we associate "turning ears" with "paying attention," which is what the speaker wants the listeners to do. It is difficult to say which analysis above most closely represents the way a listener interprets the expression, and it is possible that different listeners analyse the phrase in different ways, or even in different ways at different times. Regardless, all three analyses yield the same interpretation. Thus, metaphor and metonymy, though different in their mechanism, work together seamlessly.


Examples

Here are some broad kinds of relationships where metonymy is frequently used: *Containment: When one thing contains another, it can frequently be used metonymically, as when "dish" is used to refer not to a plate but to the food it contains, or as when the name of a building is used to refer to the entity it contains, as when "the
White House The White House is the official residence and workplace of the president of the United States. It is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington, D.C., NW in Washington, D.C., and has been the residence of every U.S. preside ...

White House
" or "
the Pentagon The Pentagon is the headquarters Headquarters (commonly referred to as HQ) denotes the location where most, if not all, of the important functions of an organization are coordinated. In the United States The United States of America ...
" are used to refer to the Administration of the United States, or the U.S. Department of Defense, respectively. *A physical item, place, or body part used to refer to a related concept, such as "the bench" for the judicial profession, "stomach" or "belly" for appetite or hunger, "mouth" for speech, being "in diapers" for infancy, "palate" for taste, "the altar" or "the aisle" for marriage, "hand" for someone's responsibility for something ("he had a hand in it"), "head" or "brain" for mind or intelligence, or "nose" for concern about someone else's affairs, (as in "keep your nose out of my business"). A reference to
Timbuktu Timbuktu ( ; french: Tombouctou; tmh, label=Tuareg languages, Tuareg, script=Tfng, ⵜⵏⴱⴾⵜ, Tin Buqt; Koyra Chiini: ) is a city in Mali, situated north of the Niger River. The town is the capital of the Tombouctou Region, one of the e ...

Timbuktu
, as in "from here to Timbuktu," usually means a place or idea is too far away or mysterious. Metonymy of objects or body parts for concepts is common in dreams. *Tools/instruments: Often a tool is used to signify the job it does or the person who does the job, as in the phrase "his Rolodex is long and valuable" (referring to the Rolodex instrument, which keeps contact business cards, meaning he has a lot of contacts and knows many people). Also "the press" (referring to the printing press), or as in the proverb, "The pen is mightier than the sword." *Product for process: This is a type of metonymy where the product of the activity stands for the activity itself. For example, in "The book is moving right along," ''the book'' refers to the process of writing or publishing. *Punctuation marks often stand metonymically for a meaning expressed by the punctuation mark. For example, "He's a big ''question mark'' to me" indicates that something is unknown. In the same way, 'period' can be used to emphasise that a point is concluded or not to be challenged. *
Synecdoche A synecdoche ( , from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10. ...
: A part of something is often used for the whole, as when people refer to "head" of cattle or assistants are referred to as "hands." An example of this is the
Canadian dollar The Canadian dollar (symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an , , or . Symbols allow people to go beyond what is n or seen by creating linkages between otherwise very different ...
, referred to as the
loonie The loonie (french: huard), formally the Canadian one-dollar coin, is a gold-coloured Canadian coin that was introduced in 1987 and is produced by the Royal Canadian Mint The Royal Canadian Mint (french: Monnaie royale canadienne) is a Crow ...
for the image of a bird on the one-dollar coin.
United States one hundred-dollar bill The United States one-hundred-dollar bill ($100) is a Denomination (currency), denomination of United States dollar, United States currency. The first United States Note with this value was issued in 1862 and the Federal Reserve Note version was l ...
s are often referred to as "Bens", "Benjamins" or "Franklins" because they bear a portrait of
Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin ( April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States The Founding Fathers of the United States, or simply the Founding Fathers or Founders, were a group of American revolutionary Patriots (also ...

Benjamin Franklin
. Also, the whole of something is used for a part, as when people refer to a municipal employee as "the city" or police officers as "the law". *
Toponym Toponymy, toponymics, or toponomastics (from grc, τόπος / , 'place', and / , 'name') is the study of ''toponyms Toponymy, also toponymics or toponomastics (from grc, τόπος / , 'place', and / , 'name') is the study of ''wikt: ...
s: A country's
capital city A capital or capital city is the municipality holding primary status in a Department (country subdivision), department, country, Constituent state, state, province, or other administrative region, usually as its seat of the government. A capita ...
or some location within the city is frequently used as a metonym for the country's government, such as
Washington, D.C. ) , image_skyline = , image_caption = Clockwise from top left: the Washington Monument The Washington Monument is an obelisk within the National Mall The National Mall is a Landscape architecture, landscaped ...
, in the United States;
Ottawa Ottawa (, ; Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Canadians, many (or all) of these connections exist and are ...

Ottawa
in Canada;
Tokyo Tokyo (Japanese language, Japanese: , ''Tōkyō'' ), historically known in the west as Tokio and officially the Tokyo Metropolis (, ''Tōkyō-to''), is capital of Japan, the capital and most populous Prefectures of Japan, prefecture of Japan ...

Tokyo
in
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
;
New Delhi New Delhi (, ''Naī Dillī'') is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majusc ...

New Delhi
in
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

India
;
Downing Street Downing Street is a long street in the City of Westminster The City of Westminster is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and London boroughs, borough in Inner London which forms a core part of Central London. It is the site of the ...

Downing Street
or
Whitehall Whitehall is a road and area in the City of Westminster, Central London. The road forms the first part of the A roads in Zone 3 of the Great Britain numbering scheme, A3212 road from Trafalgar Square to Chelsea, London, Chelsea. It is the main ...

Whitehall
in the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
; and the
Kremlin The Moscow Kremlin ( rus, Московский Кремль, r=Moskovskiy Kreml, p=mɐˈskofskʲɪj krʲemlʲ), or simply the Kremlin, is a fortified complex in the center of Moscow founded by Russian ruling dynasty of Rurikids. It is the bes ...

Kremlin
in
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
. Similarly, other important places, such as
Wall Street Wall Street is an eight-block-long street in the Financial District This is a list of financial districts in cities around the world. Background A financial district is usually a central area in a city where financial services firms suc ...

Wall Street
,
Madison Avenue Madison Avenue is a north-south avenue in the borough A borough is an administrative division in various English language, English-speaking countries. In principle, the term ''borough'' designates a self-governing walled town, although in ...
,
Silicon Valley Silicon Valley is a region in Northern California Northern California (colloquially known as NorCal) is a geographic and cultural region that generally comprises the northern portion of the U.S. state of California California is a U.S ...

Silicon Valley
,
Hollywood Hollywood is a neighborhood A neighbourhood (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of An ...

Hollywood
,
Vegas Las Vegas (; Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambi ...

Vegas
, and
Detroit (strait A strait is a naturally formed, narrowing, typically navigable waterway that connects two larger bodies of water. The surface water generally flows at the same elevation on both sides and through the strait in either direction. Mo ...
are commonly used to refer to the industries that are located there (
finance Finance is a term for the management, creation, and study of money In a 1786 James Gillray caricature, the plentiful money bags handed to King George III are contrasted with the beggar whose legs and arms were amputated, in the left corn ...

finance
,
advertising Advertising is a marketing Marketing is the process of intentionally stimulating demand for and purchases of goods and services; potentially including selection of a target audience; selection of certain attributes or themes to emphasi ...

advertising
,
high tech High technology (high tech), also known as frontier technology (frontier tech), is technology Technology ("science of craft", from Ancient Greek, Greek , ''techne'', "art, skill, cunning of hand"; and , ''wikt:-logia, -logia'') is the sum ...
nology,
entertainment Entertainment is a form of activity that holds the attention and interest In finance Finance is the study of financial institutions, financial markets and how they operate within the financial system. It is concerned with the creatio ...

entertainment
,
gambling Gambling (also known as betting) is the wagering something of Value (economics), value ("the stakes") on an Event (probability theory), event with an uncertain outcome with the intent of winning something else of value. Gambling thus requires ...
, and
motor vehicles File:Yangzhou-WenchangLu-electric-bicycles-3278.jpg, Electric bicycles parked in Yangzhou's main street, Wenchang Lu. They are a very common way of transport in this city, in some areas almost outnumbering regular bicycles A motor vehicle, also kno ...
, respectively). Such usage may persist even when the industries in question have moved elsewhere, for example, ''
Fleet Street Fleet Street is a major street mostly in the City of London. It runs west to east from Temple Bar, London, Temple Bar at the boundary with the City of Westminster to Ludgate Circus at the site of the London Wall and the River Fleet from which ...

Fleet Street
'' continues to be used as a metonymy for the British national
press Press commonly refers to: *Pressure, or the act of pressing *Printing press, commonly called "the press" *Print media, commonly called "the press" after the printing press Press may also refer to: People * Press (surname), a family name of English ...

press
, though it is no longer located in the physical street of that name.


Places and institutions

A place is often used as a metonym for a government or other official institutions, for example,
Brussels Brussels (french: Bruxelles or ; nl, Brussel ), officially the Brussels-Capital Region (All text and all but one graphic show the English name as Brussels-Capital Region.) (french: link=no, Région de Bruxelles-Capitale; nl, link=no, Brusse ...

Brussels
for the
institutions of the European Union The institutions of the European Union are the seven principal decision-making bodies of the (EU). They are, as listed in Article 13 of the : * the , * the (of Heads of State or Government), * the (of national Ministers, a Council for ea ...
,
The Hague The Hague ( ; nl, Den Haag or ) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd ed ...

The Hague
for the
International Court of Justice The International Court of Justice (ICJ; french: Cour internationale de justice, links=no; ), sometimes known as the World Court, is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmenta ...

International Court of Justice
or
International Criminal Court The International Criminal Court (ICC or ICCt) is an intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member states''), or of other organizatio ...

International Criminal Court
,
Nairobi Nairobi ( ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller low ...

Nairobi
for the
government of Kenya , image = , caption = Coat of arms of Kenya , date = 1963 , jurisdiction = Republic of Kenya , url = http://www.mygov.go.ke/ , legislature = Parliament of Kenya , meeting_place = ...
, the
White House The White House is the official residence and workplace of the president of the United States. It is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington, D.C., NW in Washington, D.C., and has been the residence of every U.S. preside ...

White House
and
Capitol Hill Capitol Hill, in addition to being a metonym Metonymy () is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric ...

Capitol Hill
for the executive and legislative branches, respectively, of the United States federal government, or
Foggy Bottom Foggy Bottom is one of the oldest late 18th- and 19th-century neighborhoods in Washington, D.C., located west of the White House and downtown Washington, in the Washington, D.C. (northwest), Northwest quadrant. It is bounded roughly by 17th Str ...
for the U.S. State Department. Other names of addresses or locations can become convenient shorthand names in , allowing commentators and insiders to refer impersonally and succinctly to foreign ministries with impressive and imposing names as (for example) the , the
Wilhelmstrasse Wilhelmstrasse (german: Wilhelmstraße, see ß) is a major thoroughfare in the central Mitte (locality), Mitte and Kreuzberg districts of Berlin, Germany. Until 1945, it was recognised as the centre of the government, first of the Kingdom of Prus ...
, the
Kremlin The Moscow Kremlin ( rus, Московский Кремль, r=Moskovskiy Kreml, p=mɐˈskofskʲɪj krʲemlʲ), or simply the Kremlin, is a fortified complex in the center of Moscow founded by Russian ruling dynasty of Rurikids. It is the bes ...

Kremlin
or the
Porte Porte may refer to: *Sublime Porte, the central government of the Ottoman empire *Porte, Piedmont, a municipality in the Piedmont region of Italy *John Cyril Porte, British/Irish aviator *Richie Porte, Australian professional cyclist who competes f ...
. A place can represent an entire industry: for instance,
Wall Street Wall Street is an eight-block-long street in the Financial District This is a list of financial districts in cities around the world. Background A financial district is usually a central area in a city where financial services firms suc ...

Wall Street
, used metonymically, can stand for the entire U.S. financial and corporate banking sector. Common nouns and phrases can also be metonyms: "
red tape Red tape is an idiom referring to regulations or conformity to formal wikt:rule, rules or wikt:standard, standards which are claimed to be excessive, rigid or redundant, or to bureaucracy claimed to hinder or prevent action or decision-making. I ...

red tape
" can stand for
bureaucracy The term bureaucracy () may refer both to a body of non-elected governing officials (bureaucrats A bureaucrat is a member of a bureaucracy and can compose the administration of any organization of any size, although the term usually connotes ...

bureaucracy
, whether or not that bureaucracy uses actual red tape to bind documents. In
Commonwealth realm A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state A sovereign state is a polity, political entity represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a perma ...
s,
The Crown The Crown is the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

The Crown
is a metonym for the
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
in all its aspects. In recent Israeli usage, the term "Balfour" came to refer to the
Israeli Prime Minister The prime minister of Israel ( he, רֹאשׁ הַמֶּמְשָׁלָה, ''Rosh HaMemshala'', ''lit.'' Head of the Government, Hebrew acronym: he2, רה״מ; ar, رئيس الحكومة, ''Ra'īs al-Ḥukūma'') is the head of government ...
's residence, located on Balfour Street in Jerusalem, to all the streets around it where demonstrations frequently take place, and also to the Prime Minister and his family who live in the residence.


Rhetoric in ancient history

Western culture Western culture, also known as Western civilization, Occidental culture, or Western society, is the heritage Heritage may refer to: History and society * In history History (from Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired ...
studied poetic language and deemed it to be
rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic – see Martianus Capella), is one of the Trivium, three ancient arts of discourse. Rhetoric aims to study the techniques writers or sp ...
. A. Al-Sharafi supports this concept in his book ''Textual Metonymy'', "Greek rhetorical scholarship at one time became entirely poetic scholarship."
Philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mi ...

Philosopher
s and rhetoricians thought that metaphors were the primary figurative language used in rhetoric. Metaphors served as a better means to attract the audience's attention because the audience had to read between the lines in order to get an understanding of what the speaker was trying to say. Others did not think of metonymy as a good rhetorical method because metonymy did not involve symbolism. Al-Sharafi explains, "This is why they undermined practical and purely referential discourse because it was seen as banal and not containing anything new, strange or shocking." Greek scholars contributed to the definition of metonymy. For example,
Isocrates Isocrates (; grc, Ἰσοκράτης ; 436–338 BC) was an ancient Greek rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic – see Martianus Capella), is one of the Tri ...
worked to define the difference between poetic language and non-poetic language by saying that, "Prose writers are handicapped in this regard because their discourse has to conform to the forms and terms used by the citizens and to those arguments which are precise and relevant to the subject-matter." In other words, Isocrates proposes here that metaphor is a distinctive feature of poetic language because it conveys the experience of the world afresh and provides a kind of defamiliarisation in the way the citizens perceive the world.
Democritus Democritus (; el, Δημόκριτος, ''Dēmókritos'', meaning "chosen of the people"; – ) was an Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient w ...

Democritus
described metonymy by saying, "Metonymy, that is the fact that words and meaning change."
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questio ...

Aristotle
discussed different definitions of metaphor, regarding one type as what we know to be metonymy today. Latin scholars also had an influence on metonymy. The treatise ''
Rhetorica ad Herennium The ''Rhetorica ad Herennium'' (''Rhetoric for Herennius''), formerly attributed to Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher and Ac ...
'' states metonymy as, "the figure which draws from an object closely akin or associated an expression suggesting the object meant, but not called by its own name." The author describes the process of metonymy to us saying that we first figure out what a word means. We then figure out that word's relationship with other words. We understand and then call the word by a name that it is associated with. "Perceived as such then metonymy will be a figure of speech in which there is a process of abstracting a relation of proximity between two words to the extent that one will be used in place of another."
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher and Academic skepticism, Academic Skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...

Cicero
viewed metonymy as more of a stylish rhetorical method and described it as being based on words, but motivated by style.


Jakobson, structuralism, and realism

Metonymy became important in French
structuralism In sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social science that uses various methods of Empirical method, emp ...
through the work of
Roman Jakobson Roman Osipovich Jakobson (russian: Рома́н О́сипович Якобсо́н; October 11, 1896Kucera, Henry. 1983. "Roman Jakobson." ''Language: Journal of the Linguistic Society of America'' 59(4): 871–883. – July 18,
. In his 1956 essay "The Metaphoric and Metonymic Poles", Jakobson relates metonymy to the linguistic practice of yntagmaticcombination and to the literary practice of
realism Realism, Realistic, or Realists may refer to: In the arts *Realism (arts), the general attempt to depict subjects truthfully in different forms of the arts Arts movements related to realism include: *Classical Realism *Literary realism, a movem ...
. He explains:
The primacy of the metaphoric process in the literary schools of Romanticism and symbolism has been repeatedly acknowledged, but it is still insufficiently realized that it is the predominance of metonymy which underlies and actually predetermines the so-called 'realistic' trend, which belongs to an intermediary stage between the decline of Romanticism and the rise of symbolism and is opposed to both. Following the path of contiguous relationships, the realistic author metonymically digresses from the plot to the atmosphere and from the characters to the setting in space and time. He is fond of synecdochic details. In the scene of
Anna Karenina ''Anna Karenina'' ( rus, «Анна Каренина», p=ˈanːə kɐˈrʲenʲɪnə) is a novel A novel is a relatively long work of narrative A narrative, story or tale is any account of a series of related events or experiences, whether ...
's suicide Tolstoy's artistic attention is focused on the heroine's handbag; and in ''
War and Peace ''War and Peace'' (russian: Война и мир, translit=Voyna i mir; Reforms of Russian orthography, pre-reform Russian: ; ) is a literary work mixed with chapters on history and philosophy by the Russian author Leo Tolstoy, first published se ...

War and Peace
'' the synecdoches "hair on the upper lip" or "bare shoulders" are used by the same writer to stand for the female characters to whom these features belong.
Jakobson's theories were important for
Claude Lévi-Strauss Claude Lévi-Strauss (, ; 28 November 1908 – 30 October 2009) was a French anthropologist and Ethnology, ethnologist whose work was key in the development of the theories of structuralism and structural anthropology. He held the chair of Soc ...
,
Roland Barthes Roland Gérard Barthes (; ; 12 November 1915 – 26 March 1980) was a French literary theorist Literature broadly is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an a ...

Roland Barthes
,
Jacques Lacan Jacques Marie Émile Lacan (, , ; 13 April 1901 – 9 September 1981) was a French psychoanalyst Psychoanalysis (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, ...

Jacques Lacan
, and others. Dreams can use metonyms.


Metonyms and art

Metonyms can also be wordless. For example,
Roman Jakobson Roman Osipovich Jakobson (russian: Рома́н О́сипович Якобсо́н; October 11, 1896Kucera, Henry. 1983. "Roman Jakobson." ''Language: Journal of the Linguistic Society of America'' 59(4): 871–883. – July 18,
argued that cubist art relied heavily on nonlinguistic metonyms, while surrealist art relied more on metaphors.
LakoffLakoff is a surname. Notable people with the surname include: *George Lakoff George Philip Lakoff (; born May 24, 1941) is an American cognitive linguist and philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosophe ...
and Turner argued that all words are metonyms: "Words stand for the concepts they express." Some artists have used actual words as metonyms in their paintings. For example, Miró's 1925 painting "Photo: This is the Color of My Dreams" has the word "photo" to represent the image of his dreams. This painting comes from a series of paintings called peintures-poésies (paintings-poems) which reflect Miró's interest in dreams and the subconsciousRowell, M. (1976) ''Joan Miró: Peinture – Poésie.'' Paris: Éditions de la différence. and the relationship of words, images, and thoughts.
Picasso Pablo Ruiz Picasso (25 October 1881 – 8 April 1973) was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist and Scenic design, theatre designer who spent most of his adult life in France. Regarded as one of the most influential artists of ...

Picasso
, in his 1911 painting "Pipe Rack and Still Life on Table" inserts the word "Ocean" rather than painting an ocean: These paintings by Miró and Picasso are, in a sense, the reverse of a
rebus A rebus () is a puzzle A puzzle is a game, Problem solving, problem, or toy that tests a person's ingenuity or knowledge. In a puzzle, the solver is expected to put pieces together in a logical way, in order to arrive at the correct or fun ...

rebus
: the word stands for the picture, instead of the picture standing for the word.


See also

*
-onym The suffix ''-onym'' (from grc, ὄνυμα / name) is a bound morpheme, that is attached to the end of a root word, thus forming a new compound word that designates a particular ''class'' of names. In linguistic terminology, compound words that a ...
*
Antonomasia In rhetoric, antonomasia is a kind of metonymy in which an epithet or phrase takes the place of a proper name, such as "the little corporal" for Napoleon I. Conversely, antonomasia can also be using a proper name as an archetypal name, to express a ...
* Deferred reference *
Eggcorn In linguistics, an eggcorn is an alteration of a phrase through the mishearing or reinterpretation of one or more of its elements, creating a new phrase having a different meaning from the original but which still makes sense and is plausible when u ...
*
Eponym An eponym is a person, place, or thing after whom or which someone or something is, or is believed to be, named. The adjectives derived from eponym include ''eponymous'' and ''eponymic''. Word usage The term ''eponym'' functions in multiple ...
*
Enthymeme An enthymeme ( el, ἐνθύμημα, ''enthumēma'') is a rhetorical syllogism used in oratorical practice. Originally theorized by Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek ...
*
Euphemism A euphemism () is an innocuous word or expression used in place of one that is deemed Profanity, offensive or suggests something unpleasant. Some euphemisms are intended to amuse, while others use bland, inoffensive terms for concepts that the us ...
by comparison *
Generic trademark A generic trademark, also known as a genericized trademark or proprietary eponym, is a trademark A trademark (also written trade mark or trade-mark) is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of propert ...
*
Kenning A kenning (Modern Icelandic Icelandic (; is, íslenska, link=no ) is a North Germanic language spoken by about 314,000 people, the vast majority of whom live in Iceland where it is the national language. It is most closely related to Faroe ...
*
List of metonyms The following is a list of common metonyms.Since metonymy – the process by which metonyms are formed – is a Productivity (linguistics), productive process, new metonyms can always be created. This list cannot include all metonyms, bu ...
*
Meronymy In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ...

Meronymy
*
Newspeak Newspeak is the fictional language of Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of and a popu ...
*
Pars pro toto ''Pars pro toto'' (, ), , is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (sk ...
*
Simile A simile () is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of pe ...
*
Slang Slang is vocabulary (words, phrases, and usage (language), linguistic usages) of an informal register, common in spoken conversation but avoided in formal writing. It also sometimes refers to the language generally exclusive to the members of p ...
*
Sobriquet A sobriquet ( ), or soubriquet, is a nickname A nickname (also moniker) is a substitute for the proper name of a familiar person, place or thing. Commonly used to express affection, a form of endearment, and sometimes amusement, it can also be u ...
*
Social stereotype File:Cops in a Donut Shop 2011 Shankbone.jpg, Police officers buying doughnuts and coffee, an example of perceived stereotypical behavior in North America. In social psychology, a stereotype is an over-generalized belief about a particular cat ...
* Totum pro parte


References


Notes


Bibliography

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Further reading

* * * * * * * {{Authority control Figures of speech Narrative techniques Rhetorical techniques Semantics Tropes by type