I was wondering if you can use the metonymy feather to refer to an angel(s)? Would feathers refer to several angels? Does this apply to poetry only or can I use it in other media?

  • It's more of a synecdoche than metonymy Jan 22, 2019 at 22:24
  • Why skip wings and go to feathers?
    – Jim
    Jan 29, 2019 at 20:57

3 Answers 3


Yes. But you could also use, respectfully meant, flying pigs. It all depends on what you want that name to convey, and what emotion you want to give the reader. The word nazi is a proud word to some, a hated name to others. Think about what you want the reader to feel and experience when reading that word. Then find one that best describes the emotion/feeling/message you want to convey.


Can you? Absolutely.

Will people immediately understand it? Probably not. This is not a common metonymy and feels a bit awkward to me, to be honest.

However, breaking the rules in poetry is commonly done. I would make sure to, in some way, explain what the metonymy means, somewhere early in the poem, and then call it good.

In other media, I would be cautious. This feels like it would start wandering into worldbuilding situations pretty quickly, which could be a good or a bad thing. I would be interested in a world where there's an explanation for why you can't call an angel an angel.


If Veronica Roth (of divergent fame) can work pompous, self-indulgent, SAT words like Amity, Dauntless, Erudite, Candor and Abnegation into her story, I am sure you can refer to angels as feathers.

"Who's the feather?"

"Dodos!!!!!!!" <--- for when angel cops showing up at a demon hideout... (if you want to stick with the bird theme)

Clearly... you would only use such words in a world where the actors are familiar with the appearance of the kid of angels you are speaking of.

Sorry.. missed the part about poetry.. I do not believe feather is commonly accepted reference to angels...

  • I'm not sure I follow what this answer is supposed to be conveying, and it doesn't seem to answer this question.
    – Cooper
    Jan 22, 2019 at 16:28
  • Missed the part about poetry. But in poetry the OP should probably not use feather... as 99.9% of the readers would not be able to associate "feather" with "angel", as angels with feathers aren't a common sight on this planet. But given the general quality of poetry .... why not
    – ashleylee
    Jan 22, 2019 at 16:30
  • Well, no, we don't normally see angels. But the depiction of angels as being feathered is pretty ubiquitous. I'm not sure that the rant about Veronica Roth adds much of anything, if it does add anything, to this answer.
    – Cooper
    Jan 22, 2019 at 16:31
  • 1
    Okay, so we've wandered into the realm of complete non-sequitur now.
    – Cooper
    Jan 22, 2019 at 16:57
  • 3
    -1 for the content, the tone and for defining "erudite" as a pompous word.
    – NofP
    Jan 22, 2019 at 17:44

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