English Grammar Online … the fun way to learn English!

Stylistic Devices – Metonymy

figurative expression, closely associated with the subject

Metonomy (unlike metaphor) uses figurative expressions that are closely associated with the subject in terms of place, time or background. The figurative expression is not a physical part of the subject, however (see synecdoche).


  • The White House declared … (White House = US government / President)
  • The land belongs to the crown. (crown = king / queen / royal family / monarchy)
  • Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that. (Norman Vincent Peale)
  • (empty pockets = poverty; empty heads = ignorance / dullness / density; empty hearts = unkindness / coldness)
  • the spit-and-polish command post (meaning: shiny clean) (3)

see also: → Metaphor, → Synecdoche