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On Metonymy
As opposed to metaphor, metonymy is a substitution of terms in which the substitution is suggested by some material or logical relationship. The topos most often cited is that of cause and effect, but also consider antecedent-consequence.. It can derive from things contiguous, adjunct, proximate, or functional to other things. Part-whole relationships are a special kind of metonym, namely synecdoche.

Basic Definitions
Metonym in Glossary of Rhetorical Terms
Metonym in Silva Rhetoricae.

Corbett and Connors 398: "substitution of some attributive or suggestive word for what is actually meant."

Notes on Metonymy
Metonymy is another of Burke's (and Vico's) "four master tropes". Northrop Frye also uses it to suggest an allegorical world view, as opposed to a mythic/metaphorical world view on the one hand or a descriptive/scientific world view on the other.
Some Specific Types of Metonymic Contiguities (from "Semiotics for Beginners" by Daniel Chandler). Each of these can also occur in reverse: cause for effect etc.
effect for cause "he's an accident waiting to happen"
object for user (or associated institution): "hired gun;" "the media"
substance for form "Gimme five"
place for event: "Woodstock" (for the epochal rock concert)
place for person: "please call home" (e.g. talk to your family)
place for institution (e.g. the White House for the executive branch)
producer for product: "she wears Abercrombie and Fitch"
controller for controlled: "I hit the median" (with my car).


Burke, Kenneth. "Appendix D: Four Master Tropes." A Grammar of Motives. Berkeley: U of California P, 1969. 503-517.
Chandler, Daniel. "Rhetorical Tropes." Semiotics for Beginners. MCS. Aberystwyth: U of Wales. 03 Aug. 2004. http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/S4B/sem07.html.
Corbett, Edward P. J. and Robert J. Connors. Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student. 4th ed. New York: Oxford UP, 1999.
Frye, Northrop. Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1957.
Pepper, Stephen C. World Hypotheses: A Study in Evidence. Berkeley: U of California P, 1948.
White, Hayden V. Metahistory: The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1973.