Examples (serial application of tropes)

Was this the face that launched a thousand ships
and burnt the topless towers of Ilium?
- Chistopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
Face is a metonymy for "person" or "woman" (Helen), a metonymy for Paris's motivation, casus belli for the Trojan War (metaphorically, "launched a thousand ships"), which led to the sacking of Troy, metonymically invoked by "burnt the topless towers of Ilium".


From Late Latin metalepsis, variant of Latin metalēmpsis, from Ancient Greek μετάληψις ‎(metálēpsis, succession).


metalepsis ‎(plural metalepses)

  1. (rhetoric) A rhetorical device whereby one word is metonymically substituted for another word which is itself a metonym; more broadly, a metaphor consisting of a series of embedded metonyms or rhetorical substitutions.


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