Metonymy

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33 comments posted
E. W. Bulllinger

At the beginning of these comments, someone asked about a theologian writer (N. T. Wright), who has suggested a rather misguided version of metonymy.

Wright’s misunderstanding of metonymy and synecdoche stems from a work by E. W. Bullinger, written around the turn of the last century. I’d never heard of Bullinger or his wacky assertions until about a month ago. Someone on Facebook wrote, “The word “all” can stand for the word “many” and “many” for “all” through synecdoche.” I, of course, disagreed strongly and thought the guy has slipped a cog. Looking up Bullinger, I soon realized his problem. His definitions of synecdoche and metonymy were over expansive and far more flexible than these figures of speech allow.

Going through his examples, I found many of the biblical passages he claimed synecdoche and metonymy followed other literary devices, such as hyperbole or metaphor. He claims, of course, this expansive use of synecdoche and metonymy was the habit of the Hebrew and Greek writers. But I’m going to have to disagree, because it makes no sense to write “all” and mean “many”. I don’t believe these figures of speech ever performed as he has suggested.

See if you agree with the following: Neither synecdoche nor metonymy, in renaming a thing or idea, change the meaning of the sentence. So, I cannot write, “All the people ate corn,” and mean, “Many of the people ate corn.” (He claims “all” as a whole can stand for “many” as a part and vice versa.)

Since the words “all” and “many” act as modifiers in the above sentences, affecting the modifier affects the noun. Affecting the noun then changes the meaning of the sentence, and that is not the role of these particular figures of speech.

Richard Speights

Posted by Anonymous on Fri, 10/28/2016 - 06:40
idea

I was reading a book by N.T. Wright (theologian) that referred to metonymy as a part being a metaphor for the whole. His example, bodily resurrection used as a metaphor for restoration of Israel in Ezekiel 37 or for restoration of all Creation. Btw my spell check apparently doesn't recognize "metonymy"!

Posted by Anonymous on Sat, 04/11/2015 - 21:16
question?

I have a question. Could "white" and "light" be considered metonyms for each other? or are we in the category of synonyms here?

Posted by Anonymous on Sun, 09/18/2016 - 22:26
its just confusing

why would an author want to use metonymy as a litterary device?

Posted by Anonymous on Thu, 02/05/2015 - 06:02
Communications

With body language, we often say so much more than the words coming out of our mouths.

As a writer, I use all sorts of devices to say more than the words on the page. For instance, I call myself a wordsmith through metonymy, renaming my job by its attribute, a forger of words. This says so much more than simply writing, "I'm a writer."

Posted by Anonymous on Tue, 11/15/2016 - 00:51
Don't get confused. We all

Don't get confused. We all use metonyms fairly regularly. Major examples: referring to the film industry as "Hollywood" or referring to a vehicle as your "ride".

Instead of saying "In the film industry..." it is easier to say, "In Hollywood..." Though Hollywood is the name of the town/neighborhood it now also means the film industry.

Posted by Anonymous on Tue, 04/07/2015 - 23:09
Merchant of Venice

is shylock being refer to as "the Jew" a metonymy?
thanks

Posted by Anonymous on Tue, 12/09/2014 - 04:26
Epithet?

No, sounds more like an epithet to me.

Posted by Anonymous on Tue, 05/17/2016 - 16:53
no it isn't, it would be if

no it isn't, it would be if he meant the whole Jewish community

Posted by Anonymous on Thu, 01/29/2015 - 14:29
example

the pen is mightier than the sword
pen: words
sword: war

Posted by Anonymous on Fri, 06/20/2014 - 07:32
clarification

Those two would actually be synecdoche, using a small portion or a part to represent the whole.

Posted by Anonymous on Sun, 08/02/2015 - 03:53
I would say that would be a

I would say that would be a symbol. You're not abbreviating the words "pen" and "sword," therefore it wouldn't be a Metonymy.

Posted by Anonymous on Tue, 12/02/2014 - 09:23
metonomy

You do not need abreviation for metonomy. It is a word accociated with an idea that, when used, wholly represents that idea. Therefore, "the pen," as an example of metonomy for writing or learning, works.

Posted by Anonymous on Thu, 03/26/2015 - 19:23
Example

Excerpt from The Book Thief-
"Women with nothing but kids and poverty would come running out and plead with him to paint their blinds."

Posted by Anonymous on Sun, 02/23/2014 - 08:41
Hmmm...

Not sure if this is right, you might be thinking of euphemism ;D

Posted by Anonymous on Wed, 06/04/2014 - 06:07
example

when we say "the white house is releasing a statement on......" we refer to the US government as the white house

Posted by Anonymous on Fri, 04/26/2013 - 08:30
The White House

Actually, when one refers to "the White House", one is referring only to the Executive Branch of the US government. Similarly, when one says Capitol Hill, one is referring to the Legislative Branch of the US government.

Posted by Anonymous on Sat, 11/26/2016 - 18:55
I helpful way to understand

I helpful way to understand this is, the white house can't actually, physically release a statement. The people who are in power, the government, are really participating in the action, but since the White House has been the place of governing for many years people began to associate White House with the governing taking place and a Metonymy has been established.

Posted by Anonymous on Wed, 10/22/2014 - 08:21
Thank you!

This was a much better example.

Posted by Anonymous on Wed, 07/09/2014 - 05:24
Cool

Awesome

Posted by Anonymous on Sun, 02/23/2014 - 08:34
difference

metonomy is when a whole represents a part, and a synecdoche is when a part represents a whole

Posted by Anonymous on Sat, 03/02/2013 - 21:16
difference

Actually, metonymy is when something associated with the thing is substituted; synecdoche is when a part is substituted for the whole or vice versa. Metonymy: She was a star of the silver screen. Synecdoche: Denver won the Super Bowl.

Posted by Anonymous on Wed, 03/12/2014 - 00:03
Synecdoche vs Metonymy for a

Synecdoche vs Metonymy for a car:
Synecdoche: "nice wheels" (a part of the whole)
Metonymy: "nice ride" (associated word)

Posted by Anonymous on Thu, 06/25/2015 - 12:10
thanks

i think i understand it now

Posted by Anonymous on Fri, 11/27/2015 - 14:57
Example

" I fear these guns will fire".......guns refer to soldiers....

Posted by Anonymous on Thu, 12/06/2012 - 17:34
what is it called when you

what is it called when you have a series of stories linked to each other by the last line in the previous story? In other words, like the new DISH network ads: "When you get depressed, you go to seminars; when you go to seminars, you feel like a winner; when you feel like a winner,..." (etc).

Posted by Anonymous on Thu, 04/12/2012 - 23:43
Its Called...

Syllogism

Posted by Anonymous on Tue, 05/15/2012 - 23:46
Multiples

If there are multiple stories, wouldn't it be sorites?

Posted by Anonymous on Fri, 09/30/2016 - 20:35
metonymy

what is the difference between metonymy and synecdoche?

Posted by Anonymous on Thu, 04/12/2012 - 23:40
Well...

Metonymy, I believe is used to represent something. Like if we say, "I pledge allegiance to the flag..." we don't really pledge our allegiance to a piece of cloth. The flag is used to represent the country. So really, you're pledging allegiance to your country.
Synecdoche is used to refer a specific part to a whole. Like "a pair of hands" referring to a helper. Notice that the hands that were referenced does relate to the helper, for s/he DOES, in fact have a pair of hands; so it is part of a whole. Whereas, again, metonymy is just used to represent something.

Posted by Anonymous on Tue, 02/12/2013 - 04:40
Be careful

Your examples are correct but don't over simplify, something like "the crown has decreed a day of mourning", here the crown being an example of synecdoche - Although that isn't to say the king had to wear a crown when he made his decree. I would think a better way of thinking of it is this - Synecdoche is the part representing the whole, you don't simply need hands when helping, you require a fully functioning body not to mention the ears to hear this request, but it is represented through the significance of your hands. Metonymy is representation by relation, the flag is a related concept to America though not intrinsically a part of it (despite what a patriot may think), another example would be "The Oval office released a statement today", here presumably the President is releasing this statement and the President is not technically a smaller part of the Oval office but a related noun. However as there is a huge overlap between related concepts and direct parts of something - A crown is a related concept to a king and therefore also metonym (however a king has his crown, it is less direct that a president has his oval office, the president works in many areas, noone usually says "Airforce one released a statement today unless it actually came from the operators of Airforce one.), but as you can see from the length of this the distinction can be difficult. Such is english!

Posted by Anonymous on Wed, 06/04/2014 - 06:23
metonymy and synecdoche

they are relatively the same thing.

Posted by Anonymous on Fri, 05/04/2012 - 07:36
"When we use the name

"When we use the name 'Washington D.C.' we are talking about the U.S.' political hot seat by referring to the political capital of the United States because all the significant political institutions such as the White House, Supreme Court, and the U.S. Capitol and many more are located *here."

Posted by Anonymous on Wed, 01/11/2012 - 19:23

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