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English Stylistics Class 2014. What is metonymy?

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What is metonymy?

Metonymy is a figure of speech in which one word or phrase is substituted for another with which it is closely associated.

So we have structure of metonymy A/B instead of AB.

We use metonymy frequently in our everyday life. For a better understanding, let us observe a few metonymy examples:

- England decides to keep check on immigration. (England refers to the government.)

- The suits were at meeting. (The suits stand for business people.)

- The pen is mightier than the sword. (Pen refers to written words and sword to military force.)

- The Oval Office was busy in work. (“The Oval Office” is a metonymy as it stands for people at work in the office.)

- Let me give you a hand. (Hand means help.)

http://literarydevices.net/metonymy/

A variant of metonymy is synecdoche.

Synecdoche is a figure of speech in which a part is used to represent the whole or the whole for a part.

Semantically it can be original or trite.

Examples of Synecdoche:

Part of something used to represent the whole sentence:

- The ship was lost with all hands. (sailors)

- His parents bought him a new set of wheels. (new car)

- He has many mouths to feed. (to look after many)

- White hair. (elderly people)

Whole sentence used to deliver a part of something:

- "Give us this day our daily bread." (Matthew, 'The New Testament')

- "I should have been a pair of ragged claws. Scuttling across the floors of silent seas."

(The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot)

- "His eye met hers as she sat there paler and whiter than anyone in the vast ocean of anxious faces about her." (Face represents the whole person; a part used to refer to the whole).

http://fos.iloveindia.com/synecdoche-examples.html

Antonomasia is a rhetorical term for the substitution of a title, epithet, or descriptive phrase for a proper name (or of a personal name for a common name) to designate a member of a group or class.

Semantically antonomasia can be original or trite.

Examples of antonomasia:

- "The fatal Cleopatra for which he lost the world and was content to lose it." - by William Shakespeare.

- Harry is the Casanova of my life.

- There is much of Cicero in this letter.

Popular antonomasia:

- Tarzan – wild

- Solomon - a wise man

- Casanova - a philanderer

- The Bard of Avon - William Shakespeare

- The Iron Lady - Margaret Thatcher

http://fos.iloveindia.com/antonomasia-examples.html

Metonymy, like other literary devices, is employed to add a poetic color to words to make them come to life. The simple ordinary things are described in a creative way to insert this “life” factor to the literary works.


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