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Metonymy

A figure of speech in which a related term is substituted for the word itself. Often the substitution is based on a material, causal, or conceptual relation between things. For example, the British monarchy is often referred to as the Crown. In the phrase “lend me your ears,” “ears” is substituted for “attention.” “O, for a draught of vintage!” exclaims the speaker in John Keats’s “Ode to Nightingale,” with “vintage” understood to mean “wine.” Synecdoche is closely related to metonymy.

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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