Metonymy in literature refers to the practice of not using the formal word for an object or subject and instead referring to it by using another word that is intricately linked to the formal name or word. It is the practice of substituting the main word with a word that is closely linked to it.

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, the U.S. Capitol and many more are located her. The phrase “Washington D.C.” is metonymy for the government of the U.S. in this case.

9 thoughts on “Metonymy”

  1. Metonymy is using a whole to represent a part or parts (Washington D.C. to represent Congress, Supreme Court etc.). Synecdoche is using parts to represent a whole (all hands on deck, with hands referring to whole sailors, not just their hands).

    1. My uni lecturer said today Metonymy is replacing with another word such as ‘nice ride’ to refer to a car. You ride in a car.

      Synechdoche is replacing a word with something that is a part of the original word.
      Eg ‘Nice wheels’ Wheels is a part of a car.

      Hope that helps.

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