Metonymy is a literary device that involves using a word or phrase to represent something else that is closely associated with it, often based on context or cultural significance. For example, using the phrase “the White House” to refer to the U.S. government or “the crown” to refer to the monarchy. Metonymy is often used in literature to create vivid and concise descriptions.
Examples of metonymy:
“The Oval Office was in turmoil.” This example from a news article uses the Oval Office as a metonymy for the U.S. presidency.
“He’s not the sharpest tool in the shed.” In this example, “the sharpest tool in the shed” is used as a metonymy for intelligence.
“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.” In this famous line from William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, “ears” is used as a metonymy for attention or consideration.
“The suits on Wall Street are only concerned with profits.” In this example, “suits” is used as a metonymy for businessmen or investors.
“The classroom laughed” – this example from Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, uses “the classroom” as a metonymy for the students in the classroom.