What Is a Metonym? (with Examples)

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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.)


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.