Metonymy Examples


Metonymy is when you substitute an attribute or something closely related to a thing for the name of the thing.

Examples of Metonymy:

Suit = business man

Crown = monarch/monarchy

Oval Office = presidency/president

Lend a hand = help

pen = written word (i.e. "The pen is mightier than the sword.)

Examples of Metonymy from Literature:

From Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind-Georgia refers to the government, people of Georgia:

"I'm mighty glad Georgia waited till after Christmas before it seceded or it would have ruined the Christmas parties."

From F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby-Fitzgerald uses the place name to stand for the people who live in the place:

"The party preserved a dignified homogeneity, and assumed to itself the function of representing the staid nobility of the countryside-East Egg condescending to West Egg, and carefully on guard against its spectroscopic gayety."

From Shakespeare's MacBeth-table refers to those who are present:

"I drink to the general joy o' the whole table."

From Shakespeare's Julius Caesar-Antony uses "ears" as a way to ask the crowd to listen:

"Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears . . ."

Related Links:
Grammar Examples
Synecdoche Examples
Metaphor Examples