noun \sə-ˈnek-də-(ˌ)kē\

Definition of SYNECDOCHE

:  a figure of speech by which a part is put for the whole (as fifty sail for fifty ships), the whole for a part (as society for high society), the species for the genus (as cutthroat for assassin), the genus for the species (as a creature for a man), or the name of the material for the thing made (as boards for stage)
syn·ec·doch·ic \ˌsi-ˌnek-ˈdä-kik\ adjective
syn·ec·doch·i·cal \-ˈdä-ki-kəl\ adjective
syn·ec·doch·i·cal·ly \-ki-k(ə-)lē\ adverb


Latin, from Greek synekdochē, from syn- + ekdochē sense, interpretation, from ekdechesthai to receive, understand, from ex from + dechesthai to receive; akin to Greek dokein to seem good — more at ex-, decent
First Known Use: 15th century

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms

ablaut, allusion, anacoluthon, diacritic, gerund, idiom, infinitive, metaphor, semiotics, simile


Next Word in the Dictionary: synecdochism
Previous Word in the Dictionary: syne (conjunction or preposition)
All Words Near: synecdoche

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up synecdoche? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).