I love discovering that a word exists to describe a part of speech that I use, but didn't know had a name.

Today, I learned the word metonymy.

From Using English:
Metonymy is a word or phrase that is used to represent something it is closely associated with: Wall Street represents the American financial world, much of which is located in Wall Street.

Wikipedia offers the following examples of metonymy:

  • "A dish" for an entree.
  • "The press" for the news media.
  • "Hollywood" for the American film industry.
  • "The Crown" for the monarchy.
  • "The pen is mightier than the sword"; pen is a metonym for rhetorical persuasion and sword is a metonym for violent coercion.

More metonymy found on the web:

  • "Ottawa" or "Parliament Hill" for the Canadian government
  • "Washington" for the American federal government
  • "Capitol Hill" for the U.S. Congress
  • "The White House" refers to the Administrative branch of the U.S. government (president and staff) who reside in the White House
  • "Nixon bombed Hanoi" where Nixon does not mean the president personally, but the armed forces that he controlled
  • "Sweat" for hard labour
  • "The kettle boils" where it is not the kettle itself but the water inside that is boiling


Now here is a challenge for you, my devoted blog readers: I would like to find a word to describe the following sentences, in which repetition is used for emphasis, dramatic effect, or a sense of foreboding:

  • "Just the facts, ma'am, just the facts."
  • "I need help, I repeat, I need help."
  • "That's what I said, sir. That's what I said."
  • "Beware the Ides of March, Caesar. Beware the Ides of March."

Thank you for any suggestions!


Deb said…
It becomes obvious that you haven't many readers who are skilled in the art of grammar.

I include myself in that group and apologize profusely for not being able to provide you with an answer to your burning question.

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