Is there a word the describes the relationship between a precursor and its product when they share the same name, at least colloquially. For instance, the beverage coffee and the grounds that it is made from. We refer to both as "coffee" but context gives us the literal meaning. The same is true for "tea" as it is both the dried leaves and the drink made by steeping said leaves.

I can't find any other examples of this relationship, though I wouldn't be surprised if there were some. It feels a lot like a synecdoche but that perhaps doesn't encompass the entire concept.

  • I'm not sure coffee and tea have the same before/after names for quite the reason of your observation. In both examples, the way we consume the item is to prepare it as a beverage. We sometimes refer to the beverage as "brewed coffee" or "brewed tea". I think referring to the beverage by simply its "source" name is a shortening for simplification. So the applicable term would be a generic language term for shortening, rather than a term that means the source product and the resulting product have the same name.
    – fixer1234
    Apr 5, 2017 at 17:16
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    OTOH: "Waiter, my coffee tastes like dirt!" "Well, that's understandable. It was ground just this morning."
    – fixer1234
    Apr 5, 2017 at 17:20
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    There are loads of words in this category - wood (first a small forest, then a construction material), roast (first a cooking method, then the meal itself). Informally, a smoke starts out as a cigarette, then it goes up in smoke / becomes an atmospheric haze. But I doubt anyone has ever needed to coin a grammatical term for the class of words that have this characteristic. Apr 5, 2017 at 17:48
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    It seems like just another variety of metonym, but there's probably no specific term for this form.
    – Barmar
    Apr 5, 2017 at 18:50
  • You're no thinking of eponymous are you?
    – Dan White
    Apr 5, 2017 at 22:22

1 Answer 1


As above, it's really just an example of


in action: a substituted name; the substitution of a property or associated object for something's original name.

If you wanted to coin a term for this specific subset, you could go with (a)etionym with the sense a name for a finished product derived from the originating substance, as tea, coffee, bronze, jade, &c.

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