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we use the word "suits" to refer to policemen.

What is the word that describes this action? I had read this word in the book "HHhH", but for the life of me, I can't seem to recall it...

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Who uses the word "suits" to refer to policemen? –  KitFox Jan 3 '13 at 15:58
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@MSPune: What part of the English-speaking world do you hail from? I don't hear suits = police being used in the UK, where suits are normally bankers, senior corporate managers and others whose primary allegiance is to Mammon, rather than to human creativity. –  FumbleFingers Jan 3 '13 at 17:18

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Metonymy (“The use of a single characteristic or name of an object to identify an entire object or related object”) is one such word – as I now see RegDwighт pointed out a half hour ago.

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+1, just so. dictionary.reference.com/browse/metonymy gives similar examples, *as “scepter” for “sovereignty,” or “the bottle” for “strong drink,” or “count heads (or noses)” for “count people.” * –  rajah9 Jan 3 '13 at 17:02
    
More specifically, it is a synecdoche. –  Colin Fine Jan 3 '13 at 18:23

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