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Figaro rips the innards out of things people say and reveals the rhetorical tricks and pratfalls. For terms and definitions, click here.
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    Kicking His Evil Axis

    kim_empty.jpgQuote:  “Hitting Kim Jong Il Right in the Cognac” — Washington Post headline.

    Figure of Speech:  metonymy (meh-TON-ih-mee), the symbol swap.  From the Greek, meaning “name change.”

    America is starting to get personal with the bad-haired dictator of North Korea.  The punishment for that nation’s nuclear-weapons test is a band on luxury goods like yachts, motorcycles, and the brandy Kim likes to down after dinner.

    The Washington Post puts the best headline on the story with the help of a metonymy, a figure of speech that makes a word stand for the qualities of something more general.  (“Crown,” for example, is a metonymy that represents royalty.)  In this case, “cognac” stands for the Dear Leader’s opulence in the midst of crushing poverty.

    Figaro finds the word easy to swallow.

    Snappy Answer:  “They should include a ban on big ugly glasses.”

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