I am not sure if there's a specific word, I can think of the word metonym, but it doesn't work for all x-contains-y relationship. For example, dish can refer to the food it contains (metonym), but ship cannot refer to the bolt it contains (never used as a metonym although they're tied by the same logical relationship). So what are some specific words for the x-contains-y relationship?

For example:

The ship and the bolt are in a ___ relationship whereas the lobster and the dish are in a metonymic relationship.

  • This isn't exactly off-topic here, but you would probably get better results at EL&U. The precise terminology for metonyms, non-metonyms, and so forth isn't really something that comes up in normal English conversation, and few native speakers would be able to recognize either correct or incorrect terms. – Nathan Tuggy Apr 9 at 4:10

In object-oriented programming (OOP), the answer would be:

The ship and the bolt are in a "Has-a" relationship


The ship and the bolt are in a "contains" relationship

Of course, "has-a" and "contains" are opposites.

However, I am not aware of another word, usable for general English, non-OOP contexts.

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