List of metonyms

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The following is a list of common metonyms.[n 1] A metonym is a figure of speech used in rhetoric in which a thing or concept is not called by its own name, but by the name of something intimately associated with that thing or concept. For instance, "Westminster", a borough of London in the United Kingdom, could be used as a metonym for its government.


Word or phrase Original / literal use Metonymic use
bar The bar in a courtroom that separates judges and lawyers from laypeople. All the lawyers licensed to practice law in a certain court or jurisdiction.[1]
bench The location in a courtroom where a judge sits when presiding over a court. All the judges of a court or jurisdiction; members of a judiciary; the presiding officer (judge) in a court.[2]
boots on the ground   Footwear worn by soldiers. Combat troops deployed in a geographic area (as opposed to those awaiting deployment and/or in aircraft or ships offshore).[3]
brass A metal alloy (used for or in the manufacture of e.g. buttons, insignia and (traditionally) a family of musical instruments) Military officers[4]
china The country China. Chinese porcelain or other types of ceramic.[4]
city hall A city's chief administrative building. Local government or, more pejoratively, government in general.[2] Most common use is in the adage "You can't fight city hall."
crown / Crown A type of monarchical headwear. Monarchy, especially the British monarchy (as "The Crown").[5]
dish An item of crockery. (The foundation of) a course – usually the main course – of a meal.[6]
gun A firearm. An assassin, mercenary or soldier (as in "hired gun").[7]
mortal Subject to death. Human.[8]
pink slip A discharge notice (historically, a slip of paper in an employee's pay envelope). A layoff or termination of employment.[9]
suits Business attire (plural). Business executives and lawyers.[7]
sweat Perspiration. Hard (physical) work.[10]
tongue Oral muscle. A language or dialect.[11]


Word or phrase Original / literal use Metonymic use
10 Downing Street
("Number 10")
The official residence of the British Prime Minister.[n 2] The British Prime Minister and his or her staff.[12]
Bay Street A street in downtown Toronto The Canadian financial sector, since the Toronto Stock Exchange, the country's main securities market, and the headquarters of many of its major banks, are located there[13]
Broadway A street in Manhattan, New York City. Broadway theatre; sometimes, although less accurately, commercial American theatre in general.[4]
Brussels The capital of Belgium. Institutions of the European Union, headquartered in that city, or the EU as a whole.
Buckingham Palace or the Palace A large building in London that is the official residence of the reigning British sovereign The British royal family and its staff[14]
"the City" / "The City"   The City of London, the part of Central London, England, that has the longest contiguous recorded history. The financial (and related) institutions located in the City of London.[15]
Capitol Hill or the Hill A neighborhood in Washington, D.C. The United States Congress[16]
Cooperstown A village in upstate New York, USA. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, located in Cooperstown, New York.[17]
Detroit The largest city in Michigan, USA. The American automobile industry.[18]
Élysée Palace The Élysée Palace is the seat of the President of France. The President of the French Republic and his or her staff.
Fifth Avenue A street in the New York City borough of Manhattan The upscale retailers that are generally located along it[19]
The fifth floor The floor of a building above the fourth floor The Mayor of Chicago and his or her staff, since their offices are on that floor of city hall[20]
Fleet Street A street in the City of London. The British national press.[21]
Foggy Bottom A neighbourhood in Washington, D.C.. The United States Department of State has its seat in the area.
Hollywood A district of Los Angeles, California. The American film industry.[4]
Hrad ("The Castle") The Prague Castle and official residence and office of the President of the Czech Republic. The President of the Czech Republic and his or her staff, and also the Czech Republic as a whole.[22]
Ikulu The official residence of the President of Tanzania The State House and its administration.[23]
Itamaraty Itamaraty Palace in Brasília, headquarters of the Ministry of External Relations of Brazil. The Brazilian ministry of Foreign Affairs and its diplomats.[24]
K Street A street in downtown Washington, D.C. The American lobbying industry.[25]
Kastilja ("Castile") Auberge de Castille The Office of the Prime Minister of Malta.[26]
Kremlin A historic type of Russian fortress or citadel. The Moscow Kremlin and/or the Russian presidential administration; historically, any Russian government.[27]
Langley A small suburb of Washington, D.C., in Virginia The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency[28]
Løvebakken The driveway in front of the Storting building. The supreme legislature of Norway.
Madison Avenue A street in Manhattan, New York City. The American advertising industry.[4]
Nashville The capital of the state of Tennessee, USA. The country music industry.[4]
Pearl Harbor The natural harbor on the coast of Oahu island, Hawaii. The attack on Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan on December 7, 1941.[4]
(The) Pentagon A pentagonal building in Arlington County, Virginia, USA. The United States Department of Defense (whose headquarters is housed by the Pentagon building).[29]
Queen's Park An urban park in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Ontario Legislative Building (which is located within the park) and/or the provincial government of Ontario.[30]
Quai d'Orsay The headquarters of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs is located at 37 Quai d'Orsay in Paris. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development.[31]
Sand Hill Road A street in Menlo Park, California, USA The venture capital firms that fund startups in the American high-tech industry.[32]
Savile Row A short street in central London The high-quality bespoke men's suits made by tailors' shops on the street[33]
Scotland Yard Name given to the original public entrance (via "Great Scotland Yard") to the headquarters of the London Metropolitan Police Service. London or British police, especially detectives.
Seventh Avenue A street in the New York City borough of Manhattan The American fashion industry[34]
Shepherd's Bush A neighbourhood in west London The British Broadcasting Corporation[35]
Silicon Valley The suburbs of San Francisco north of San Jose on the southwest side of San Francisco Bay The American high-tech industry[36]
Spring Street A street in the central business district of Melbourne, Victoria (Australia). The Parliament and Government of Victoria (and, when used pejoratively, its bureaucracy).[37][non-primary source needed]
Stormont Stormont Estate, Ireland The Government of Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Sublime Porte A gate giving access to a block of government buildings in Istanbul, Turkey. The Imperial Government of the Ottoman Empire (sometimes, more specifically, its foreign policies and relations).[38]
Threadneedle Street A street in the City of London. The Bank of England and/or its directors.[39]
Tin Pan Alley A block along 28th Street in Manhattan The American popular music industry in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.[40]
Turtle Bay A neighborhood on the East Side of Manhattan The United Nations (occasionally)
The Vatican A small sovereign state surrounded by Rome, Italy The Holy See, and the Roman Catholic Church in general[41]
Wall Street A street in Manhattan, New York City. The American financial markets (Wall Street is the traditional center of securities trading in the United States).[4]
Washington The state or, as "Washington, D.C." ("Washington, District of Columbia"), the capital of the United States (named for George Washington, the country's first president following independence). The United States federal government.[1]
Watergate The Watergate Hotel and Office Building in Washington, D.C. The political scandal exposed after a burglary at the Watergate Hotel.[4]
Westminster A part of Central London, England. The Parliament of the United Kingdom.[42]
(The) White House The official residence of the President of the United States. The President of the United States and his or her staff.[1]
Youngstorget A square in Oslo, Norway. The Norwegian labour movement - the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions and the Labour Party.
Whitehall A street in Westminster, London. The central government of the United Kingdom, particularly the civil service.[43]
Zhongnanhai A former imperial garden adjacent to an eponymous lake in central Beijing, now used as residences The leadership of the Chinese government[44]


  1. ^ Since metonymy – the process by which metonyms are formed – is a productive process, new metonyms can always be created. This list cannot include all metonyms, but only some of those that are identified as common.
  2. ^ Technically, 10 Downing Street is the official residence of the First Lord of the Treasury, not the Prime Minister. However, the two offices have been held by the same person since the early 20th century.


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  20. ^ Throgmorton, James A. (1996). Planning as Persuasive Storytelling: The Rhetorical Construction of Chicago's Electric Future. University of Chicago Press. p. 50. ISBN 9780226799636. Retrieved June 11, 2015. 
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  22. ^ Zantovské Murray, Irena. "Our Slav Acropolis: Language and Architecture in the Prague Castle under Masaryk". McGill University. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  23. ^ Thomas Molony (1 June 2014). Nyerere: The Early Years. Boydell & Brewer Ltd. pp. 23–. ISBN 978-1-84701-090-2. 
  24. ^ The Ministry, Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  25. ^ Zak, Dan (February 5, 2012). "K Street: The route of all evil, or just the main drag?". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 11, 2015. 
  26. ^ (Maltese) "Deputat tal-PN tallega li hemm ‘direct link’ bejn Kastilja u l-MEPA". 16 June 2015. Retrieved 17 June 2015. 
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  33. ^ "What Makes a Savile Row Suit?". Birchbox. July 2013. Retrieved June 11, 2015. 
  34. ^ Ledbetter, James (2003). Starving to Death on $200 Million: The Short, Absurd Life of The Industry Standard. PublicAffairs. p. 251. ISBN 9781586481292. Retrieved June 11, 2015. I doubt that many people among the Standards Silicon Valley readership would recognize that 'Seventh Avenue' is code for the fashion industry 
  35. ^ Dempsey, Luke, ed. (2012). Monty Python's Flying Circus: All the Bits : Complete and Annotated. Black Dog & Leventhal. p. 601. ISBN 9781579129132. Retrieved June 11, 2015. 
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  37. ^ Michael Bachelard, Feeling the heat The Age, July 25, 2010
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  39. ^ Dreiser, Theodore (2004). A Traveler at Forty. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-252-02913-4. 
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