Tag Archives: metonymy

Metonymy

Metonymy (me-ton’-y-my): Reference to something or someone by naming one of its attributes. [This may include effects or any of the four Aristotelian causes {efficient/maker/inventor, material, formal/shape, final/purpose}.]


Where I grew up he was known as “The Man of Steal”—if you’re reading this, and not hearing it, you know I’m not talking about Superman. I’m talking about stealing, robbing, pilfering, ripping off, boosting, heisting, and all the other words for depriving people of their property, stealthily, quietly, and undetected, or, by force with punches, blunt force, or bullets. In the inverted order of values operative where I grew up, The Man of Steal was a celebrity. His convenience store robberies were fabled. “The Robbery of the Nighty Mart” was a song that we learned as boys and would sing instead of the “The Star Spangled Banner” at school assembly. There was also a poem that could be sung to the tune of “Davy Crockett.” “Born in a Warehouse in NYC, The most Dangerous City in the Land of the Free, Killed him a cockroach when he was only three, Man of Steal, Man of Steal, King of NYC.”

Man of Steal was the first thief to wear a black balaclava in an armed robbery. In his first attempt, the balaclava he wore had Frosty the Snowman printed all over it. The store owner laughed at him and Man of Steal hit him over the head with a carton of eggs from the store’s refrigerator. Now, the owner was slumped in a corner by the door dripping raw egg. Man of Steal probably thought “You’re not laughing now Mr. Yo-yo.” With the store-counter phone, he called the fire station to come and hose the owner down, emptied the fresh produce display, grabbed a chocolate Yoo-Hoo drink, and went out the door. After the “Frosty” incident, Man of Steal wore only solid-black balaclavas. Prior to “The Great Balaclava Innovation,” robbers wore folded handkerchiefs over their faces. Folded corner-to-corner, they would be draped over the nose, leaving the eyes uncovered, and tied in the back. They would frequently slide down the face and get stuck around the robber’s neck, revealing the robber’s identity. The balaclava was a godsend: put it on coming through the door, pull it off going out the door. How convenient! How effective!

I met Man of Steal when I was 11. Ma had sent me to “Cole’s Convenience Corner” to get a fresh chicken, 4 baking potatoes, 1 package of frozen peas and 2 packs of “Lucky Strikes” for grandpa. He had recently switched to “Luckies” from “De Nobili” cigars. The doctor had told him he would die less quickly if he smoked “Luckies.” Ma promised to subsidize his tobacco habit if he would switch. So, he switched. Anyway, I was walking up to the entrance of Cole’s when the door burst open and a man tearing a black balaclava off his head charged out the door carrying a box under his arm. He knocked me flat on the pavement. It was Man of Steal—and I had seen his face! I was a dead boy. He said, “You forget me & l’ll forget you.” I said “Ok.” He said: “That’s good. Now I don’t have to shoot you.” He walked away like nothing happened. But I recognized him.

It was Father Carmody, our parish Priest. I had promised to forget him, and I would honor my promise at all costs, especially since he was a Priest. But as time went by, and “The Man of Steal” was still ripping off convenience stores, I considered breaking my promise. I decided to go ahead and break it. I would do it in the confessional where both of us would be anonymous. So, I told him I knew who he was. I heard the unmistakable sound of an automatic pistol cocking from his side of the confessional. “Let me confess to you, son.” I was stunned. “First, I don’t have gun, what you heard were the grass trimmers I was using before I came back into the Church. I should’ve left them outside. My confession is short: everything I have stolen from the convenience stores has been donated to the Church’s food bank, except for a random soft drink or two. Over the years, I have saved countless people from going hungry because they can’t afford the high-priced food at the convenience stores and they have no way to shop elsewhere.” Even though I was only eleven, I almost said “Jesus Christ!”

But instead, I said, “That’s not totally disgraceful, but you could go to jail. I tell you what. Make me an Altar Boy with unlimited access to the sacramental wine, and I will forget your confession forever. Are we good?” He pulled a .45 out of his vestment, cocked it and pressed it between my eyes. He said, “Ok, we’re good. Just keep your mouth shut.”


Definition courtesy of “Sliva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

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Metonymy

Metonymy (me-ton’-y-my): Reference to something or someone by naming one of its attributes. [This may include effects or any of the four Aristotelian causes {efficient/maker/inventor, material, formal/shape, final/purpose}.]


The pen is mightier than the car jack when it comes to stabbing somebody in the eye, but the word-processor is mightier than the AK-47 when affecting the human spirit and bringing about positive change. So, you want to change things to fit your vision? Start writing, stop shooting. It may take longer to make your writing effective—longer than spraying bullets. The easiest way to settle a disagreement is to kill your opponent. But it is murder, and it doesn’t really settle anything— dead bodies can’t be persuaded and it’s persuasion, not coercion, that brings society forward in a reasonable compassionate way. Dead bodies create anger a alienation: faulty foundations for social reality.

So, if you don’t want the dove to crap on your head, don’t screw with fire irons.


Definition courtesy of “Sliva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

Buy a print edition of The Daily Trope! The print edition is entitled The Book of Tropes and is available on Amazon for $9.99. A Kindle edition is available for $5.99.

Metonymy

Metonymy (me-ton’-y-my): Reference to something or someone by naming one of its attributes. [This may include effects or any of the four Aristotelian causes {efficient/maker/inventor, material, formal/shape, final/purpose}.]

President hair wad seemed lost at the G20 summit.

Definition courtesy of “Sliva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

Buy a print edition of The Daily Trope! The print edition is entitled The Book of Tropes and is available on Amazon for $9.99.

Metonymy

Metonymy (me-ton’-y-my): Reference to something or someone by naming one of its attributes. [This may include effects or any of the four Aristotelian causes {efficient/maker/inventor, material, formal/shape, final/purpose}.]

Don’t iron your ideas so flat that they sound like cicadas humming somewhere in Kansas!

Damn! I don’t even know if they’ve got cicadas in Kansas–but you get my point, right?

Go for TA-DA instead of HMMMMM–more people will listen, and that’s half the battle!

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Definition courtesy of “Sliva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

Hypallage

Hypallage (hy-pal’-la-ge): Shifting the application of words. Mixing the order of which words should correspond with which others. Also, sometimes, a synonym for metonymy (see Quintilian).

His brutish butt hung half-moon over the rampart as he sat on its edge eating a bagful of jellied donuts. Never a model soldier, his rear end stood watch while his drooling eyes surveyed the blots of grease staining his beloved bakery bag.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Metalepsis

Metalepsis (me-ta-lep’-sis): Reference to something by means of another thing that is remotely related to it, either through a farfetched causal relationship, or through an implied intermediate substitution of terms. Often used for comic effect through its preposterous exaggeration. A metonymical substitution of one word for another which is itself figurative.

Tomorrow, I’m headed to San Fransisco to get my heart back. Please remind me not to leave it there again!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Metonymy

Metonymy (me-ton’-y-my): Reference to something or someone by naming one of its attributes. [This may include effects or any of the four Aristotelian causes {efficient/maker/inventor, material, formal/shape, final/purpose}.]

I’ll pay with plastic. How much is one round? Do you have balls?

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Definition courtesy of “Sliva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

Hypallage

Hypallage (hy-pal’-la-ge): Shifting the application of words. Mixing the order of which words should correspond with which others. Also, sometimes, a synonym for metonymy (see Quintilian).

Can I trust you? Is a mountain a mudflat?

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Epexegesis

Epexegesis (ep-ex-e-ge’-sis): When one interprets what one has just said. A kind of redefinition or self-interpretation (often signaled by constructions such as “that is to say. . .”).

A beehive’s drones’ sole function is to procreate, that is, they are genetically devoted to perpetuating their species.  Their stingers have morphed into penises. They benignly target the Queen, mate, and make more bees.

Question: Why does the US call its remote-controlled killer aircraft “Drones”?  Answer: because they’re drudges that fly and make a droning sound! But, their sole purpose is to serve King Death.

As a metonymy, calling a flying remote-controlled killing machine a drone is like calling a seat used for executing people an electric chair.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Metonymy

Metonymy (me-ton’-y-my): Reference to something or someone by naming one of its attributes. [This may include effects or any of the four Aristotelian causes {efficient/maker/inventor, material, formal/shape, final/purpose}.]

Hey Big Tooth, give me five! Long time no see! Are you still a shrink?

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Definition courtesy of “Sliva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

Metonymy

Metonymy (me-ton’-y-my): Reference to something or someone by naming one of its attributes. [This may include effects or any of the four Aristotelian causes {efficient/maker/inventor, material, formal/shape, final/purpose}.]

Don’t look now, but Bulging Biceps is smiling at you. Oh là là!

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Definition courtesy of “Sliva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

Metonymy

Metonymy (me-ton’-y-my): Reference to something or someone by naming one of its attributes. [This may include effects or any of the four Aristotelian causes {efficient/maker/inventor, material, formal/shape, final/purpose}.]

I filled my tin with nightcrawlers and headed off for a day by the water.

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Definition courtesy of “Sliva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

Hypallage

Hypallage (hy-pal’-la-ge): Shifting the application of words. Mixing the order of which words should correspond with which others. Also, sometimes, a synonym for metonymy (see Quintilian).

Birds do not bark. Dogs do not tweet. Cows do not croak. Frogs do not moo. Stop trying to prove yourself by doing what you can’t do.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Metalepsis

Metalepsis (me-ta-lep’-sis): Reference to something by means of another thing that is remotely related to it, either through a farfetched causal relationship, or through an implied intermediate substitution of terms. Often used for comic effect through its preposterous exaggeration. A metonymical substitution of one word for another which is itself figurative.

You’re such a shoe head–Birkenstock, Gucci, Puma, Nike, Bass, Timberland, Crocs, Nine West, Marc Jacobs, ECCO, Zanotti, Clergerie, Vacini. Yikes! Your closet looks like Zappos’s website!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Hypallage

Hypallage (hy-pal’-la-ge): Shifting the application of words. Mixing the order of which words should correspond with which others. Also, sometimes, a synonym for metonymy.

Our starry singing rose to meet the jubilant sky.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhtoric.byu.edu).

Metonymy

Metonymy (me-ton’-y-my): Reference to something or someone by naming one of its attributes. [This may include effects or any of the four Aristotelian causes {efficient/maker/inventor, material, formal/shape, final/purpose}.]

Wearing his trusty Chucks he tore across the boards. He picked off the flying b-ball and pushed it through the air. Just like magic, he put three big ones up in lights. Now the score was tied–seconds to go–we were all up on our feet yelling our heads off!

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Definition courtesy of “Sliva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.