Metonymy is a figure of speech in which a thing or concept is not called by its own name, but by the name of something intimately associated with that thing or concept.
Here are some examples of metonymy:
- Crown. (For the power of a king.)
- The White House. (Referring to the American administration.)
- Dish. (To refer an entire plate of food.)
- The Pentagon. (For the Department of Defense and the offices of the U.S. Armed Forces.)
- Pen. (For the written word.)
- Sword - (For military force.)
- Hollywood. (For US Cinema.)
- Hand. (For help.)
Consider this quote which is a metonymic adage coined by English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839 for his play Richelieu; Or the Conspiracy:
"The pen is mightier than the sword."