Meronymy is a PART-WHOLE relation. The sentence frames 'X is part of Y' or 'Y has X' are used to describe meronymic relations.
e.g. Cover is a meronym of book. A book has a cover.
Holonymy is the opposite PART-WHOLE relation. The whole is a holonym of the part.
e.g. Tree is a holonym of bark.
Meronymic relationships form hierarchical classifications, like hyponymic relationships, but these are less clear-cut than taxonomies.
The boundary between Meronymy and Hyponymy can be blurred.
Industry – Chemical Industry
Chemical industry is a part of industry in general (Meronymy), and it is also a specific type of industry (Hyponymy).
Types of Meronymy
Functional Component (heart – body)
Segment – Whole (piece – cake)
Element – Set (sheep – flock)
Subset – Set (fruit – food)
Winston et al.
Component – Integral Object (pedal – bike)
Member – Collection (ship – fleet)
Portion – Mass (slice – pie)
Stuff – Object (steel – car)
Feature – Activity (paying – shopping)
Place – Area (Everglades – Florida)
Some meronymic relationships are transitive.
Nail – Finger – Hand
A finger has a nail.
A hand has a finger.
A hand has a nail.
It is unclear whether some meronymic relationships are intransitive.
The following example is often used to illustrate intransitivity.
Simpson's finger – Simpson – Philosophy department
Simpson's finger is a part of Simpson.
Simpson is part of the Philosophy department.
? Simpson's finger is a part of the Philosophy department.
One argument as to why some meronymic relations are intransitive is that they cross over different types of meronymy.
Simpson's finger is a part of Simpson – Component – Integral Object
Simpson is part of the Philosophy department – Member - Collection