The lexical emotive means and stylistic devices

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Famous Metonymy

Think you haven’t heard of any famous metonymy? Here are some well-known and recognizable examples of this figure of speech:3


  • “Rags to Riches” (American television series)

  • “The Crown” (Netflix television series)

  • “He Got Game” (American film)

  • “Hurtin’ (on the Bottle)” (song, Margo Price)

  • “Guys and Dolls” (American stage musical)

Differences Between Metonymy, Synecdoche, and Metaphor

Metonymy is often confused with synecdoche. These literary devices are similar but can be differentiated. Synecdoche is a figure of speech in which a part of something is used to signify the whole. For example, a common synecdoche for marriage proposal is to ask for someone’s “hand” in marriage. Of course, the “hand” in this case is just the part that signifies the whole person who is receiving the proposal.

Metonymy is a figure of speech in which one word is used to replace another to which it is closely linked. However, unlike synecdoche, it is not a part of the word or idea it represents.

Both metonymy and synecdoche are related to metaphor, which is also a figure of speech. As a literary device, the purpose of metaphor is to compare two unlike things without using the words “like” or “as.” There are also comparative aspects within metonymy and synecdoche, so the differences between these three devices can be subtle. One way to differentiate metaphor is that it’s used to show similarity between two separate things that appear unrelated.

Comparative Examples of Metonymy, Synecdoche, and Metaphor

Here are examples of these literary devices that illustrate the subtle differences:

  • “Life is a climb, but the view is great.” This is an example of Metaphor. “Life” is being compared to “a climb.” Though these two concepts are different, they are considered interchangeable in this example due to the comparison.

  • “There is a mountain of work on my desk.” This is an example of metonymy. “Mountain” is used here as a word that would be related to “pile.” Though the word “mountain” is different than “pile,” they are both associated with one another.

  • “Today, I hit my job peak.” This is an example of Synecdoche. “Peak” is used here to indicate the highest point of the speaker’s career experience. The “peak” is part of the whole.

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