Metonymy (74 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Note

Litencyc Editors (Independent Scholar - Europe)
Download PDF Save to Bookshelf Tweet Report an Error
  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume : WORLD HISTORY AND IDEAS: A CROSS-CULTURAL VOLUME.


A figure of speech in which a word referring to one attribute of something is used to signify the whole of the thing. For example “the crown” is used to signify “the monarchy”, and in the expression “he's taken to the bottle” one means “he's taken to drinking”. The difference between metonymy and synechdoche (q.v.) is fine: metonymy is relatively abstract and ideational whereas synecdoche is more material and physical (“sails” for “boats”).

Editors, Litencyc. "Metonymy". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 November 2001
[, accessed 26 May 2019.]

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here.