Sunday, May 8, 2011

Rhetoric - metonymy



metonymy [mɪˈtɒnəmi] n.

1.) A trope in which one word is put for another that suggests it; as, we say, a man keeps a good table instead of good provisions; we read Virgil, that is, his poems; a man has a warm heart, that is, warm affections; a city dweller has no wheels, that is, no automobile (GNU Collaborative International Dictionary of English).

Etymology: Late Latin metonymia, from Greek metonumia : meta-, meta- + onuma, name.

"Doubtful it stood,
As two spent swimmers that do cling together
And choke their art. The merciless Macdonwald—
Worthy to be a rebel, for to that
The multiplying villainies of nature
Do swarm upon him—from the Western Isles
Of kerns and gallowglasses is supplied;
And Fortune, on his damned quarrel smiling,
Show'd like a rebel's whore. But all's too weak;
For brave Macbeth—well he deserves that name—
Disdaining Fortune, with his brandish'd steel,
Which smoked with bloody execution,
Like Valor's minion carved out his passage
Till he faced the slave,
Which ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him,
Till he unseam'd him from the nave to the chaps,
And fix'd his head upon our battlements" (The Tragedy of Macbeth, William Shakespeare, ~1605).

The Night of Enitharmon's Joy, William Blake, 1795
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I've decided to start a regular feature: I'll be defining rhetorical terms every Sunday, until we know them all. The main difference is that I'll be providing examples of the rhetorical device in action, instead of uses of the term. Hope you guys enjoy!

47 comments:

Speedy Ed said...

wow, i really learnt a lot there ;) thanks for the post

Couture Carrie said...

Love this one!

xoxox,
CC

Dave said...

metonymy is a word that Ive not heard before. Good word though.

Lemons Don't Make Lemonade said...

NICE WORD!!

Zombie said...

I am way too tired right now to even try to put this in a sentence. lol.

D4 said...

I like this idea. It shows situations so we can use the words descriptively.

jamiesaur said...

I have heard of this man called Virgil.

DEZMOND said...

ah, I learned this word during my studies of English literature at College :)

Bart said...

trippy painting.

Mercurio said...

English is full of metonymyes!

Astronomy Pirate said...

That's pretty cool, I wasn't even aware that that concept had a name.

Joel C Anatoli said...

I still dont understand what this words means lol

Meri said...

I'm a bit confused, I have to admit- is it sort of like an idiom or different?

Wintermute said...

ohh, the bible uses this a lot, and Shakespeare.

-E- said...

@Meri no, this is a figure of speech like a metaphor or a simile. an idiom is specific to one language, whereas other languages use metonymy too.

@Joel C Anatoli another example is when people say they're paying with plastic. since credit cards are associated with plastic (because they're made from plastic), the meaning is conveyed indirectly.

Thanks for your interest; I hope that helps!

Kicking Rocks said...

Ptolemy's Metonymy.....sounds like a great restaurant!

Jesse Crows said...

cool word

Colin Biano said...

sounds good to me! :D

MassiveUps said...

Me Tony My
Okay Tony have it!! I was an English major and I never heard this word before. You learn something every day!

Astronomy Pirate said...

I gave you a Sunshine Award, pretty much your advancing of my vocabulary brightens my day.

http://astropirate.blogspot.com/2011/05/sunshine-award.html

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I've learned something new today -- thanks! And thanks for popping by my blogaroony too.

HiFi said...

An interesting play on words. :)

thenitefalls said...

One I have to use this today :D

ExoticBlogger said...

weird word!

ChaCha said...

the Sunday feature sounds like a great idea!

Z said...

So complicated for me! Am I the most stupid one? oh well!

Ruta, Look Ugly in a Photograph said...

I like the meaning behind this.

Kristina P. said...

Will "Snuggie" make the cut?

Rob said...

Nice word, you should also check out my blog, as I have nominated you for the sunshine award :D

Intraman said...

nice choice of picture, i love blake's art almost as much as his poetry :)

Jay said...

what a mouthful!

Endless said...

the post is too long :( i got distracted by the picture

Glovey said...

Love your blogging work! Keep up the good work you make really good posts!

JayPower said...

Cool word! i look forward to using it in conversation ;D

Kristin H said...

Adore these William Blake drawings!

Sick by Trend said...

Your blog is fantastic for learning more and more everyday haha! Yes1 I know the team are back! :D

hugs!

www.sickbytrend.com

Maggie said...

great word! not sure if id use it though haha

G said...

nice word...and something i'm going to start using more

M Pax said...

Very nice and a beautiful example. A very eloquent one.

Dave said...

Another great word from the man of words.

Team Panda said...

havent heard this one before, thanks

Jen said...

That word is so much less complicated than it looks - thanks for sharing!

notforeverybody said...

great post :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I need to point my wife toward your blog!

Jennifer Fabulous said...

I love how your blog does nothing but make me smarter. That's so awesome. Not many (okay, very few) other blogs do that! :)

Rob said...

Amazing some words you'll find.

MRanthrope said...

so glad I learned this definition...since I use metonymy(s?) all the time.

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