Is the phrase “planting tomatoes” Metonymy?


Planting tomatoes when one is planting seeds.

would appear as Metonymy or Synecdoche.

Because the word “seeds” are being replaced by the word “tomatoes” a component of the plant it could be a form of Synecdoche.¬†But I believe it to be Metonymy.

Thank you for your time and assistance.


I agree with you that “planting tomatoes when one is planting seeds” is an example of synecdoche. The main difference between the two devices is that synecdoche refers to a whole by calling it the name of any of it’s parts, while metonymy refers to description of a thing that is closely linked to that thing, but is NOT a part of it. Since seeds are indeed a part of tomatoes, this saying is an example of synecdoche.

I had considered that but the tomato is the fruit of the plant Solanum lycopersicum a member of the night shade family. The plant is poisonious but the fruit “tomato” is edible.
In my limited knowledge I tried to find a parralel example which is the phrase “making babies” for sexual intercourse where the “result of the action is stated” which would be Metonymy so comparing “making babies” to “planting tomatoes” appears to parrellel. So I am caught between Metonymy and Synecdoche. Does what I am saying make sense?

I think a more close relative of your example would be “counting your chickens before they hatch.” This statement is referring to counting on the product of an equation, before actually doing the work to make the equation come to fruition. If you count your chickens before they hatch, you are counting eggs. But we all know that every egg does not turn into a chicken, so it would be a mistake to (for example) sell the chickens before they are hatched. Likewise, you cannot reap tomatoes before you plant the seeds. The tomatoes may ONLY come from the seeds. They cannot make themselves. Since the eggs must be a part of the chicken equation and the seeds must be a part of the tomato equation, I believe the saying you’re analyzing must be synecdoche.