Synecdoche

Synecdoche

səˈnekdəkē

Noun

  • A figure of speech in which a part is made to represent the whole or vice versa, as in “Cleveland won by six runs” (“Cleveland” meaning “Cleveland’s baseball team”).

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Example Sentences

“The team’s full name is the Jacksonville Jaguars, but they are often referred to by the synecdoche ‘the Jaguars.'”

“The tourism campaign pushed for ‘Maple Town’ to be the synecdoche for the village best known for its maple syrup festival.”

“‘I need new wheels to get to work,’ Josephine said, using a synecdoche for a car to describe her need for transportation.”

Word Origin

Late Middle English, 1350s

Why this word?

“Synecdoche” appeared in Late Middle English, but it comes to us via Latin from the Greek word “sunekdokhē” — a combination of the words “sun” (“together”) and “ekdekhesthai” (“to take up”). It’s a figure of speech in which a part (perhaps a nickname) represents a whole (a more formal name), or a whole (referring to a larger body in general) represents a part (an individual). Referring to the United States as “America” or saying a statement has been put out by “the company” when it was actually shared by a single spokesperson are both everyday examples of synecdoche.

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