Glossary of Linguistic Terms

Metonymy

Definition: 

Here are two senses for metonymy:

  1. Metonymy is, broadly defined, a trope in which one entity is used to stand for another associated entity.
  2. Metonymy is, more specifically, a replacive relationship that is the basis for a number of conventional metonymic expressions occurring in ordinary language.
Examples: 

(English)

  • The pen is mightier than the sword.
    • Pen and sword represent publishing and military force, respectively.
  • The following examples illustrate the controller-for-controlled metonymy:
    • Nixon bombed Hanoi.
      • Nixon stands for the armed forces that Nixon controlled.
    • ​A Mercedes rear-ended me.
      • The word me stands for the car that the speaker was driving.