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The Songwriter's Idea Book by Sheila Davis

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STRATEGY SIXTEENMetonymy and Symbol as Design Devices

Metonymy: A Definition

Metonymy (meh-TAHN-a-mee), one of the four master tropes, is a figure of symbolic substitution, related to (and often confused with) synecdoche, in which we represent the thing meant with an attribute or symbol. For example, “from the cradle to the grave” is a metonymic expression that represents two abstract terms, birth and death, with two (concrete) symbols. I want to emphasize the distinction between the two tropes: Synecdoche substitutes an integral part of the thing (a strong arm) for the thing itself (the outfielder), which always makes a whole with it; metonymy substitutes an external attribute or symbol (cradle/grave) for the thing itself (birth/death) which ...

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