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Word for the Wise September 29, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Bobbies, Scotland Yard, and metonymy

Greater London抯 Metropolitan Police Force opened for business on this date in 1829. (来源:英语麦当劳-英语学习门户 http://www.EnglishCN.com)

The initial response from the public was iffy; half the original officers were dismissed during the first six months of operation, and juries for two officers killed in the line of duty during the early days passed up verdicts of justifiable homicide. But by 1844, police officers (originally dressed in top hats and tailcoats) were affectionately known as bobbies, after Sir Robert Peel, the British Home Secretary credited with organizing the force.

As for the name Scotland Yard, the earliest known print appearance of that term used as a byword for the detective department of the London Metropolitan Police dates to 1864. Scotland Yard was the street containing the back entrance to the original Metropolitan Police building fronting on Whitehall Place.

And for those of you about to undertake some linguistic detective work of your own, we抣l save you a trip: using Scotland Yard to refer to the detective department is known as metonymy. Metonymy names the figure of speech where the name of one thing is used for that of something else with which it is associated.

 
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