Grammar Monster
Grammar Monster

What Is a Metonym? (with Examples)

What Is a Metonym? (with Examples)

A metonym is a word used in place of a closely related word. A metonym is a form of figurative language. Metonyms closely resemble metaphors, but the thing being represented by a metonym will be a close match. A metonym is often an attribute or a component part of the thing being represented.

Examples of Metonyms

Here are some examples of metonyms (shaded):
  • After college, he took to the bottle.
  • (The bottle is a metonym for alcohol.)
  • Downing Street supports the proposal.
  • (Downing Street is a metonym for the Prime Minister.)
  • The top brass is contesting the cuts.
  • (Top brass is a metonym for the senior officers.)
  • This is not how it will be portrayed by Fleet Street.
  • (Fleet Street is a metonym for the British national press.)
Top Tip

The Benefits of Metonyms

Using a metonym is a good way to keep your writing interesting. It's also a good way of showing your readers that you trust them. Look at this example:
  • Westminster will convene a special session to debate the issue.
  • (Westminster is a metonym for The Parliament of the United Kingdom.)
By using this metonym, you're trusting your readers to know where UK's parliament is situated or to work it out from context.
Interactive Test