Term of Art: Metonymy

The figurative or symbolic use of the name of one thing for that of another with which it is associated, or of an attribute for the whole, e.g., ‘brass’ for military officers. Adjective: metonymic, metonymical; adverb: metonymically; noun: metonym.

‘A full set would also have included the brazen Perelman pun (‘My choler wilted’ for ‘My anger subsided’)…the Perelman micro-metonymy (‘Hanna listened to the veins throbbing in my temple’ for ‘I was speechless with anger at Hanna’) and the Perelman extrapolation of cliché into metaphor (‘The whole aviary in my head burst into song’ for ‘I was bird-brained’).’” Tom Wolfe, The New York Times

Excerpted from: Grambs, David. The Random House Dictionary for Writers and Readers. New York: Random House, 1990.

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