We use metaphor and metonymy on a regular basis in everyday language, but what sorts of metaphors and metonymies materialize as part of students’ conceptions of sampling distribution and informal inference in an introductory statistics course? This research aims to answer this question. Student difficulties in understanding ideas of sampling distributions and informal inference are well documented in the literature. Although we know that these ideas are complex and difficult for students, little is known about the ways in which students’ language mediates their statistical problem solving activities. Based on semi-structured interviews with undergraduate students in an introductory statistics course, this research explores students’ use of metonymy when speaking about distributions, sampling ideas, and statistical inference, allowing us to gain deeper insight into these students’ statistical thinking.