Short shot #19: word/thing metonymy

Caught on a Law & Order episode, something like:

The third name on that list died.

This is not an exact quote, but in the actual line, name was used to refer to a person, and that’s the point of linguistic interest. This is a word/thing metonymy, a phenomenon last mentioned on this blog in the most recent “Cheese or font?” posting.

I’m not at all sure what the limits of this sort of metonymy are (though contextualization helps a lot), nor do I know if it’s been studied.

One Response to “Short shot #19: word/thing metonymy”

  1. vocalised Says:

    I’ve often wanted to look at how musicians refer to musicians as their instruments. “I’m one of three clarinets,” that sort of thing.

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