Quote: “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.”