METONYMY; or, CHANGE OF NOUN.                                                                                                           pg. 538
The change of one noun for another related noun.

From “Figures Of Speech Used In The Bible” by E. W. Bullinger,
(Public Domain) (pg. 538-539)  pages 560-567
 Adapted for website compatibility.

Me-ton-y-my. Sometimes pronounced Met-o-nym-y.
Greek Μετωνυμία, from  μετά  (meta), indicating change, and  ὄνομα (onoma), a name;
or, in grammar, a noun.
[See A Greek-English Lexicon by Liddell, Henry George, 1811-1898 ; Scott, Robert, 1811-1887 ;
μετά pg. 946 G. VIII ; ὄνομα pg. 1056]

Metonymy is a figure by which one name or noun is used instead of another, to which it stands in a certain relation.

The change is in the noun, and only in a verb as connected with the action proceeding from it.

The names of persons are put by Metonymy for something which stands in a special relation to them. Thus we speak of “a stanhope” (carriage), from the Hon. Mr. Stanhope; “a brougham,” from Lord Brougham; “boycotting,” from Capt. Boycott; a “blanket,’” “negus,” a “spencer,” a “d’oyley,” etc.,
from the respective inventors.

Thus it will be seen that Metonymy is not founded on resemblance, but on relation.

When we say that a person writes “a bad hand,” we do not mean a hand, but we use the noun “hand” for the characters which it writes.

Metonymy is of four kinds: viz., of the Cause, of the Effect, of the Subject, and of the Adjunct.

I. Metonymy of the Cause is when the cause is put for the effect: i.e., when the doer is put for the thing done; or, the instrument for that which is effected; or, where the action is put for the effect produced by the action.

II. Metonymy of the Effect is the opposite of the above: when the effect is put for the cause.

III. Metonymy of the Subject is when the subject is put for something pertaining to it: as the possessor for the possessed; the thing signified for the sign.

IV. Metonymy of the Adjunct, on the contrary, is when that which pertains to anything is put for the thing itself.

Some grammarians have added a fifth Metonymy, where the antecedent is put for the consequent;
but it really belongs to Metonymy of the Cause.

                                                                                                                                                                                      pg. 539

The following is the complete outline of the figure now to be treated of: —


    I. Of the Cause.

.          i. The person acting for the thing done.

.          ii. The instrument for the thing effected.

.          iii. The thing or action for the thing produced by it.

.          iv. .The material for the thing made from or of it.


  II. Of the Effect.

.          i. The action or effect for the person producing it.

.          ii. The thing effected for the instrument or organic cause of it.

.          iii. The effect for the thing or action causing it.

.          iv. The thing made for the material from which it is made or produced.

II. Metonymy of the EFFECT.

This is when the effect is put for the cause producing it. It is of four kinds:
(i.) The action for the actor,
(ii.) The thing for the organic cause of it.
(iii.) The effect for the producer of it.
(iv.) The matter made for the material cause of it. We will consider these in their order: —

. i. The ACTION or the EFFECT for the person producing the effect, or for the author of it.

. 1. NOUN’S.

Gen. 25:23 “Two nations are in thy womb”:
i.e., two infants whose progeny should become two different nations.

.. .                                                                                                                                                                                   pg. 561
Gen. 26:35 “Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah”:
i.e., the source of much sorrow to them.

Gen. 49:18 “I have waited for thy salvation (i.e., for Him who shall bring and work salvation), O Lord.”

Neh. 12:31, 38, 40 “Two great celebrations.” The A.V. and R.V. have supplied the words implied by the Metonymy (the former in italics, the latter in Roman type), by rendering “two great companies of them that gave thanks.” The effect of the praises or thanks, is put for the people who rendered them.

Psa. 18:1 (2) “I will love thee, O Jehovah my strength”:
i.e., the author and source of my strength.
So Psa. 22:19 (20); Jer. 16:19.

Psa. 27:1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation.” This is not a Metaphor but a Metonymy:
i.e., Jehovah is the source of my light, and the author of my salvation. Compare Heb. 5:9.

Psa. 106:20 “Thus they changed their glory (i.e., God) into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass.”
The Massorah records this as one of the passages in which the Sopherim changed the pronoun “my” into “their”. It was thought to be too gross an anthropomorphism to say “my”, Jehovah being the speaker.
See Appendix E.

Isa. 49:6 “That thou mayest be my salvation (i.e., the Saviour whom I have sent) unto the end of the earth.”

Jer. 23:6 “Jehovah our Righteousness”: i.e., the Author of our righteousness: our Justifier.

Mark 9:17, 25 A dumb spirit.”:
i.e., a spirit which produced the effect of dumbness in the person possessed.

Luke 2:30 “Mine eyes have seen thy salvation”:
i.e., Christ the Saviour: the Worker and Author of Salvation. So 3:6 and Isa. 49:6.

Luke 11:14 “And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb”:
i.e., it produced dumbness in the man possessed. Compare Matt. 9:32, 33; Mark 9:17, 25.

Luke 13:11 “And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity.”
The negative
μή (mee) implies that she felt unable to straighten herself up,* and indicates some nervous disorder. So the Lord uses the remarkable language about Satan as binding her.

* The Greek of this is εἰς τὸ παντελες (eis to panteles), which occurs only here and Heb. 7:25.
Here, to her full height; there, to their full need.
. … .                                                                                                                                                                               pg. 562

This is not Enallage, “an infirm spirit,” but it is Metonymy, by which the effect is put for the cause.
The woman was troubled by a spirit which caused or produced this infirmity.

John 11:25 “I am the resurrection and the life”:
i.e., the Worker of resurrection, and the Giver of resurrection life.

Rom. 13:3 “Rulers are not a terror”:
i.e., a source of terror.

2 Cor. 1:14 “We are your rejoicing (i.e., cause of rejoicing), even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus.” So 1 Thess.2:19, 20.

Rev. 1:12 “And I turned to see the voice (i.e., Him that spake with me.)
So John 1:23.


. 2. VERBS.

Gen. 42:38 “Shall ye bring down,” etc.:
i.e., shall be the cause of my death. See under Periphrasis.

Gen. 43:6 “Why have ye done evil to me, to disclose to the man that ye had yet another brother ?”
i.e., why have you brought or caused all this evil to be brought upon me.

Ex. 23:8 “The gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous”:
i.e., is an occasion by which these effects are produced.

1 Kings 18:9 “What have I sinned, that thou wouldest deliver thy servant (i.e., cause to be delivered) into the hand of Ahab to slay me ?”

Psa. 76:10 (11) “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee”:
i.e., shall be the occasion of praise to thee.

Isa. 43:24 “Thou hast made me to serve with thy sins”:
i.e., thy sins have caused the hard service and Passion which I endured on account of them.

Jer. 38:23 “Thou shall burn this city with fire”:
i.e., thou shalt cause it to be burnt. See A.V. margin.

Eze. 19:7 “He laid waste their cities”:
i.e., their sins caused them to be destroyed.

Acts 1:18 “Now this man purchased
(i.e., caused to be purchased) a field.”

Rom. 14:15 “Destroy not him with thy meat for whom Christ died”:
i.e., do not be a cause of destruction.

. … .                                                                                                                                                                               pg. 563

1 Cor. 7:16 “For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save
(i.e., be the means of salvation or the occasion of much blessing to) thy husband ?” etc.
See 1 Pet. 3:1.

. ii. The THING EFFECTED by an instrument for the instrument or organic cause of it.

Gen. 49:6 Lit., “My soul (i.e., myself, I) will not come into their secret (counsel), mine honour shall not be with them in their assembly.” Here, “honour” is put for the tongue which gives it; and it means that he would not honour them by speaking or taking part in their assembly.
Compare Psa. 57:8, and 107:1.

Deut. 24:6 “No man shall take the nether or the upper millstone to pledge: for he taketh a man’s life to pledge.” Here “life,” the effect, is put for the means of livelihood by which the life is preserved.

Psa. 7:5 (6) “Let him . . . lay mine honour in the dust”:
i.e., myself who gives honour.

Psa. 16:9 “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth”:
i.e., my tongue gives glory, as is explained in Acts 2:26.

Psa. 30:12 (13) “To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee and not be silent.”

Here, the word “glory” may be put for the tongue which gives it: but the structure of the Psalm suggests another explanation of the Metonymy. This verse corresponds, in the structure, with verse 4:
“Sing to Jehovah, O ye saints of His.” Compare 2 Cor. 8:23.

So that verse 12 would be “To the end that Thy saints may sing praise to Thee”: “glory” being put for the saints who give the glory.

Psa. 57:8 (9) “Awake up, my glory”: i.e., my tongue, wake up and glorify God.

Prov. 27:27 “And thou shalt have goats’ milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the life (marg.) of thy maidens”: i.e., as the A.V. renders it, “for the maintenance of thy maidens.”

Mark 12:44 “She of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living (or life)”:
i.e., all her means of supporting herself in life.

Luke 15:12 “And he divided unto them his living (or life)”:
i.e., his means or property, by which life is sustained. So Mark 12:44.

. … .                                                                                                                                                                               pg. 564

Acts 17:31  Lit., “Whereof he hath given faith to all men.”
Here faith, the effect, is put for the proofs or evidence on which it rests. “Whereof He hath afforded evidence unto all men”: and then the evidence or proof is stated, “in that he hath raised him from the dead.” The A.V. and R.V. well render it “hath given assurance”.
The Resurrection of Christ is the evidence God affords of His purpose to judge the world by Him.

Rom. 1:16 “For it (the gospel) is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth”:
i.e., the belief is the effect of the power of God through the preaching of the gospel.

1 John 5:4 “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” “Victory,” the effect, is put for “our faith,” which accomplishes it.
From Eph. 6:16 we learn that it is through Christ; who is the shield which faith uses.

. iii. The EFFECT for the thing or action causing or producing it.

. (a.) in NOUNS.

Ex. 10:17 “Intreat Lord your God, that he may take away from me this death only”: i.e., this plague which is causing death.

Deut. 30:15 “I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil”: i.e., good things which end in life, and evil things which end in death. So in Deut. 32:47, and Jer. 21:8, etc.

2 Kings 4:40 “There is death in the pot”:
i.e., there is that which produces death as the effect of eating it. How forcible is this Metonymy,
by the use of which time is saved, and perhaps life too.

Prov. 10:2 “Righteousness delivereth from death”: i.e., from the things that end in death.

Prov. 19:13 “A foolish son is the calamity of his father”:
i.e., does that which brings or produces calamity.

Prov. 20:1 “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging.”
Here, wine, etc., is put for its effects. It brings him who drinks to excess into derision, and causes tumults.

Ecc. 11:1 “Cast thy bread (i.e., the seed which produces it) upon the waters.”


Isa. 28:12 “This is the rest”: i.e., this is what gives rest.

Jer. 3:24 “For shame hath devoured the labour of our fathers”:
i.e. the worship of Baal, which brought upon them shame and sorrow. Shame is put for an idol or for idolatry in Jer. 11:13 
(see margin). Hos. 9:10; See also Jer. 48:13, etc.

. … .                                                                                                                                                                               pg. 565
Lam. 2:14
Thy prophets have seen vain things for thee and expulsions”:
i.e., the things which led to expulsion from the land and captivity.

Eze. 44:18 “They shall not gird themselves with sweat “: i.e., as in A.V., with anything that causeth sweat. The effect “sweat” being put for the garments which cause it.

Hos. 4:18 “Their drink is rebellious, or turned aside”: i.e., has caused them to turn aside from God. Through not seeing the Metonymy, the translators try to 
find other meanings for סָר
(see text and margin). The verse refers to Isa. 28:1 and 5:11.

“What is the transgression of Jacob? Is it not Samaria? And what are the high places of Judah?
Are they not Jerusalem?”
i.e., Samaria and Jerusalem were the cause of the transgression of Israel: “What is the cause of Jacob’s trangression?”

Hab. 2:5 “Yea, also because the wine transgresseth”: i.e., the effects of the wine was transgression; or, “Yea, so surely as wine causeth trangression.”

John 3:19 “And this is the judgment”:
i.e., the cause of which judgment or condemnation was the effect: viz., “that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light,” etc.

John 12:50 “And I know that his commandment is life everlasting”:
i.e., the effect of it is eternal life.

John 17:3 “This is life eternal”: i.e., the effect of it is life eternal.

Rom. 6:6 “The body of sin” is more than “sinful body.” It is more than mere character. The effect is put for the cause; which is the old nature, that, through the body, works out sin; and sin is the effect; which is thus used, here and in other parts of this epistle (chap. 5:12-8:39), for the old nature itself.

Whereas, in chaps, 1:16-5:11, we have “sins,” as the product of the old nature, and the fruit of the old tree, we have, in 5:11-8:39, “sin,” or the old nature, which
causes and commits the “sins”; and the old tree itself which produces the fruits.

Rom. 7:7 “Is the law sin? (i.e., Is sin the effect of the law?) God forbid. But yet I knew not sin except through the law! “

There is no “nay” in the Greek. The word “but” brings out the meaning: “God forbid that sin should be the effect of the law. But nevertheless.” So it is.

Rom. 7:24 “The body of this death”; or, by Hypallage q.v.), as in A.V. margin, “this body of death”:
in which case, “of
* death” is either, by Enallage, put for the adjective “dying”, or it may be the Metonymy of the effect, and the result “death” put for the cause — viz., all that leads up to,
and ends in, death.

. … .                                                                                                                                                                               *pg. 566
Rom. 8:6 “To be carnally minded is death (
i.e., the cause of death), but to be spiritually minded is life and peace (i.e., ends in life and peace or peaceful life). So verse 10.

1 Cor. 12:6 “And there are diversities of operations”:
i.e., of faculties and gifts effected by the Divine operations.

1 Cor. 14:3 “He that prophesieth speaketh unto men edification, and exhortation, and comfort”:
i.e., words which build up, exhort, and comfort.
The A.V. obtains this meaning by supplying the word “to.”

2 Cor. 1:10 “Who delivered us from so great a death”:
i.e., from the persecution or trouble which threatened to kill them, and end 
in death.

2 Cor. 11:23 “In deaths oft.” This cannot, of course, mean that he had died more than once;
but that he had often been at death’s door, and in troubles which cause or bring about death.

Phil. 1:13 “My bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace”:
i.e., the effect of his preaching made it manifest that his bonds were on account of his service for Christ, and not for any crimes.

Heb. 6:1 “Dead works”: i.e., works wrought by the Old nature. So 9:14, according to Rom. 6:23.

Rev. 6:8 “And power was given unto them … to kill with the sword, and with hunger, and with death”: i.e., with pestilence which produced death.

. (b) In VERBS.

Psa. 25:2 “O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me” (and thus be a cause of my being put to shame). So verse 20; Psa. 31:1 (2); 119:116, etc.

Psa. 70:4 (5) “Let them rejoice and be glad in Thee, all that seek thee”: i.e., let there be a cause of rejoicing and gladness to all seeking thee. Through not seeing the Metonymy the A.V. and R.V.
render it: 
Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee.”
The cause and effect are joined together in Psa. 5:11 (12), 12 (13).

Isa. 28:16 “He that believeth shall not make haste.”
Here, hastening away or flight is put as the effect for the confusion and shame which is the cause of it. See Rom. 9:33; 10:11. *1 Pet. 2:6, where the cause is put. The sense is that he that believeth will have no need of hurried flight, he will wait God’s time.
… .                                                                                                                                                                               . *pg. 567

. iv. The THING MADE, for the material from which it is made or produced.

Psa. 74:15 “Thou didst cleave the fountain and the flood”:
i.e., the rock from which the fountain flowed.

Isa. 28:28 “Bread is bruised”: i.e., the corn of which it is made. The A.V. supplies “corn” The sense is clear from verse 27 and Job. 28:5. In Psa. 104:14, we have the opposite of this in the Metonymy of the cause.

Isa. 33:12 “And the people shall be as the burnings of lime”: i.e., as fuel for lime-kilns.

Isa. 47:2 “Take the millstones and grind meal”: i.e., grind corn, from which meal is made.


Italicized words in [brackets] were added by the King James Version translators.


Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for bios (Strong’s 979)“.
Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2019. 21 Jul 2019.
< http://
amp;t=KJV >

Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for yeza` (Strong’s 3154)”.
Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2019. 22 Jul 2019.
< http://;t=KJV >

Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for cuwr (Strong’s 5493)“.
Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2019. 22 Jul 2019.
< http://
amp;t=KJV >

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From “Figures Of Speech Used In The Bible” by E. W. Bullinger,
(Public Domain) pages 560 – 567. Adapted for website compatibility.
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