1560s, from French métonymie (16c.) and directly from Late Latin metonymia, from Greek metonymia, literally "a change of name," related to metonomazein "to call by a new name; to take a new name," from meta- "change" (see meta-) + onyma, dialectal form of onoma "name" (from PIE root *no-men- "name"). Figure in which the name of one thing is used in place of another that is suggested by or associated with it (such as the Kremlin for "the Russian government"). Related: Metonymic; metonymical.
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