Wednesday Writing Word: Merism

Merism

/’mɛrɪzəm/  |  MAIR-iz-mm

 

Where a synecdoche is a specific type of metonym, a merism is a specific type of synecdoche in which a phrase refers to something by the name of a few of its components (usually two in contrast).  Like other metonyms, their usage most often comprises pre-established terms (such as saying “high and low” or “near and far” to mean “everywhere“), rather than existing in unique cases.

 

Other examples:

  • The slog can corrode you, mind and body.  [Referring to the ‘whole of a person’ to mean completely]
  • Don’t let the slog waste your blood, sweat, and tears.  [Referring to products of ‘bodily exertion’ to mean hard work]
  • Being the worst is the slog‘s bread and butter.  [Referring to ‘basic needs’ (by way of food) as a function of their acquisition to mean manner of supporting oneself]

 

Merism.  Use it.

 

Bene scribete.

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Wednesday Writing Word: Synecdoche

Synecdoche

/sɪˈnɛkdəki/  |  sih-NECK-duh-kee

 

Aside from being an uglier word to say than look at, a synecdoche is a specific type of metonym where something is referred to by either a component of itself or, conversely, a broader category to which it belongs.  When I call myself a writer, I’m naming one aspect of the process to say that I’m a storyteller.

 

Other examples:

  • I need to find a way to put the slog in irons.  [Referring to shackles by their material]
  • Seeking to escape the slog, we entreated the Church to grant us asylum.  [Referring to specific people by the organization they belong to, and that organization by the building it works in]

 

Synecdoche.  Use it.

 

Bene scribete.

Wednesday Writing Word: Metonym

Metonym

/ˈmɛtənɪm/  |  MET-uh-nim

 

Metonymy is the metaphorical referral to something by the name of something closely related to it.  Typically used for poetic symbolism, it’s more often seen in established examples than it is in unique cases.  For my fellow Game of Thrones fans, “The Iron Throne” is an often-used metonym for the rulership of Westeros.

 

Other examples:

  • The slog can drive a writer to the bottle.  [Referring to drinking alcoholic beverages]
  • Lo slog, das slogel slog – in any tongue the slog is still the slog.  [Referring to a language]

 

Metonymy.  Use it.

 

Bene scribete.
 


 

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